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A common sleep problem is insomnia. It occurs when a person has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep during a regular night. The causes, symptoms and severity of insomnia vary from person to person. Insomnia may include:

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Difficulty staying asleep throughout the night
  • Waking up too early in the morning


Types of Insomnia:

There are two types of insomnia:

  • Short-term insomnia: This type of insomnia lasts for up to three months.
  • Chronic insomnia:This type of insomnia occurs at least three times per week and lasts for at least three months.


What causes Insomnia?

Insomnia is often caused by other factors such as stress, sleep disorders which impair normal sleep patterns, medical conditions, medications or substance use, and mental health issues. Also, factors such as noise, light and environmental temperature can affect sleep as well as the individual’s lifestyle and work habits.


Concerned you may have Insomnia?

Speak with your medical practitioner for more advice and guidance specific to your situation. Effective treatments are available that can help people fall asleep faster, stay asleep, and feel more rested during the day.

The STAR Family Health Team offers a service to better support patients who experience insomnia. Through the use of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Insomnia or CBT-I, our team’s mental health counsellors trained in this skill provides help to identify thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are contributing to the person’s symptoms of insomnia. This technique is effective with certain patients. It is recommended that you speak with your medical practitioner to determine if you are eligible for therapy.


What is CBT-I?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) is a non-pharmacological (no medication!) therapy for treating insomnia.  It is considered the first-line option for treating insomnia among many healthcare providers throughout the world.

CBT-I has been shown to be more effective in treating insomnia in the long term than both over the counter and prescription medications.  It has also been shown to have fewer side effects than medications.

CBT-I is typically offered in several formats.  These include:

  • Single-session workshops (online or in-person)
  • Multi-week group therapy (online or in-person)
  • Multi-week individual therapy (online, on the phone, or in-person)


Who is CBT-I for?

  • Adults (18+)
  • Persons who do not have/struggle with:
    • Bipolar disorder
    • Untreated or inadequately treated sleep apnea
    • Parasomnias (e.g. sleep walking, night terrors, sleep paralysis)
    • A current substance use disorder


What can I do now?

It may not be possible to speak to one of our team’s therapists immediately about your sleep concerns but there are a few things you can do. Listed below are some suggestions that are recommended to trial for at least two weeks:

  1. Wake up and get out of bed at ______ every day, regardless of how you slept the night before.
  2. Go to bed when you are sleepy, but not before ______.
  3. Get up (and out of bed) when you can’t sleep.
  4. Use the bed only for sleeping. Do not read, eat, watch TV, etc., in bed.  Sexual activity is the only exception.
  5. Avoid daytime napping.


Other programs available: 

Thames Valley Family Health Team – Dream on – CBT for Insomnia

Maitland Valley Family Health Team – Sleep Sound, Sleep Smart, Feel Better 


Resource Links:

Click here for a list of Myths and Facts about sleep

Click here for resources for a better sleep

Click here for Suggestions for a better sleep

Resources for past/present participants. Password provided.


Recommended Websites:



If you are interested in CBT- I please speak with your practitioner or mental health provider.

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