Insomnia and CBT


Phoenix Rising Founder
The New York Times published an article today indicating that CBT can be very effective in insomnia.

The News is kind of similar to that in ME/CFS - about 30% of people with insomnia significantly benefited from it. It was effective enough in treating this difficult problem that one doctor said it was kind of unbelievable.

It appears that it was all about managing your sleep behavior properly; going to bed at the right time (do not go to bed early!), having the environment support sleep, not getting tangled up negative and anxious thoughts about how much sleep you are or are not getting.

In the Virginia study, called SHUTi, patients enter several weeks of sleep diaries, and the program calculates a window of time during which they are allowed to sleep. Patients limit the time they spend in bed to roughly the hours that they have actually been sleeping.

The goal is to consolidate sleep, then gradually expand its duration the same technique that would be used in face-to-face therapy, said Lee Ritterband, a psychologist at the University of Virginia, who developed the program.

Stella Parolisi, 65, a registered nurse in Virginia and a patient in the study, said sticking to the restricted sleep schedule was hard, but toward the end, it started to pay off.

The Canadian study tested a five-week program that also emphasized sleep restriction, controlling negative thoughts and avoiding stimuli like light and noise in the bedroom. It also included readings, and audio and video clips to teach and reinforce its messages.

It shows that in some people this approach works very well.


Senior Member
I have two sleep specialists (don't ask!); one is a psychopharm at Brigham and Women's and the other is a neurologist at Mass General Hospital, both in Boston. Both really brilliant and caring. They know I see each other and have different approaches and very different personalities. I asked them about this and the Harvard doc. I got the same response: one groaned and the other said it hadn't worked for me and wanted to see the data saying it was better than Ambien. I am not perfect and sometimes poor sleep hygiene happens, that's life. Depending on what meds I'm on it can keep me awake.


Senior Member
Hudson Valley
I think the quality of my sleep would improve if I weren't scared to death about how I am going to survive -- after more than two decades of illness, I am poor, and worried about rent, food, and the cost of fuel. The illness itself, and the situation it creates in our lives, is nerve-racking.