Insomnia - What Is It?

Insomnia is a common sleep problem that involves trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. People wake still feeling as if they did not get enough sleep, despite trying all night to do so.


Types of Insomnia

First Responders insomnia and other sleep disorders
Sleep problems are a problem with stressful jobs and trauma related issues

Acute insomnia- is short term (days- weeks), often influenced by a specific stressor or multiple stressors
Chronic insomnia- long term (1 month or longer)
Secondary insomnia- caused by some other factor such as medication or a medical condition, noise, or other situations. 
Primary insomnia- no obvious cause, not well-understood.

Lack of sleep can mean bad days

Not getting enough sleep for any length of time leads to: 

• daytime sleepiness and lack of energy
• feelings of anxiety
• feelings of depression
•  irritability
• struggle to focus
• trouble with memory


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I)

Most people don't think of counseling to help insomnia, but Cognitive Behavioral Therapy does offer some relief.

CBT-I is a non-drug treatment for insomnia and is an effective alternative to sleep medication.


In CBT-I, we explore your current sleep routine and underlying beliefs which may influence your ability to get a restful night’s sleep. Then we put in place methods that will help retrain your body and mind to welcome sleep again.  

There is no evidence of negative side effects of CBT-I. 


What CBT-I  Looks Like

insomnia article woman sleeping first responders trauma

The first session includes a comprehensive sleep assessment to understand your unique sleep patterns and thoughts related to sleep, as well as rule out any secondary causes or co-occurring concerns.

If CBT-I is an appropriate treatment option, there are typically 6 sessions (not everyone needs 6 sessions, while others require a few more or future boosters). These meetings will focus on creating an individualized plan geared toward:

•  Stimulus control strategies
•   Sleep restriction technique
•   Sleep hygiene 
•   Inaccurate or troublesome thoughts related to sleep


Tina Casola is certified through Veterans Health Administration, San Diego to provide CBT-I to clients.