The cognitive-behavioral program is the treatment of choice for primary insomnia in the leading sleep centers of Europe and the U.S., particularly when the insomnia is chronic. It consists of retraining our natural ability to sleep, which has been altered during the process of the disease becoming chronic. The program consists of 5-10 sessions (including an evaluation during the first) and is based on reinforcing three fundamental components:
- Behavioral: this component is intended to provide specific guidelines to change sleep habits, as well teaching the patient relaxation techniques and control of mental activity that will aid relaxation both physically and mentally for the night.
- Cognitive: This component is intended to help patients reformulate some attitudes in relation to their insomnia that may be contributing to the problem. It will include training in techniques for reducing activation at night as well as stress management. It will also present specific changes in sleep schedules to improve the natural function of the brain centers that modulate sleep.
- Education: This component is intended to provide basic information about sleep and its changes over the course of life, the physiological need for sleep, and the effects of food, exercise, etc.