Members of the European Academy for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) task force have released a list of practical recommendations for coping with sleep problems during self-isolation in light of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The recommendations, published in the Journal of Sleep Research, focus on the applications of CBT-I in the context of an unprecedented global lockdown.
As people around the world face prolonged periods of confinement to their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, stress levels may disrupt sleep patterns and worsen overall mental health. Certain populations may experience greater levels of stress, including people struggling with financial uncertainty, individuals who live alone, senior citizens, women, and children.
Considered the most effective treatment for chronic insomnia, CBT-I may be useful in treating acute episodes related to immediate stress. Through stimulus control, CBT-I seeks to reorient negative associations between bedroom settings and sleep trouble. This treatment also involves sleep hygiene, which includes control of caffeine and alcohol intake, exposure to bright light, and exercise habits, and relaxation interventions, such as meditation. Cognitive reappraisal of dysfunctional ideas about sleep, paradoxical intention, and sleep restriction are other core features of CBT-I.
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