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Sleep and wake therapy

What is sleep and wake therapy and who is it for?


Sleep and wake therapy, also known as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) of insomnia, brings together different methods in order to :

  • reduce the level of physiological activation of the patient

  • improve sleep-related habits and behaviors

  • restore circadian sleep/wake rhythm

  • correct some erroneous beliefs about sleep

Principles and goals

CBTs of sleep and wake combine work on the patient’s beliefs and attitudes towards sleep, with practical advices to regain restful sleep.

Sleep and wakefulness therapy relies on setting up a patient’s sleep diary to determine the source of his insomnia and the specific moments in which they occur. The patient also completes several questionnaires to determine internal and external factors which cause his or her insomnia. The practitioner helps the patient understand his sleep and advises him or her on the solutions to his personal problem.

The sleep and wake therapist usually begins the accompaniment by teaching the patient a number of habits and practices to apply in order to improve his or her sleep (physical activity at the beginning of the day, reduction of the consumption of alcohol or caffeinated products in the afternoon …).

Beyond these tips, the sleep and wake therapist will use various methods to sustainably improve the patient’s sleep:

  • stimulus control: aims to undo the bed-insomnia association and rebuild the bed-sleep association as well as establishing a regular sleep schedule.

  • Sleep restriction: Eliminate prolonged awakenings and reduce bedtime to sleep time only.

  • Cognitive restructuring: changing certain beliefs and attitudes about sleep and insomnia consequences

Who is sleep and wake therapy for?

Sleep CBTs are used to accompany people with a variety of disorders. However, this type of cognitive-behavioral therapy is particularly aimed at all patients suffering from insomnia, sleepiness, and sleep disturbances and awakening in general.