This Is the Single Best Cure for Insomnia That No One Is Talking About (Vogue)

two adults sleeping Vogue image

In the frenzied, never-ending search for more sleep, you can’t say people aren’t getting creative. There are beanie-like sleep caps that claim to bring down brain activity, magnetized pillows to align the biological clock, and body creams that “rub out” insomnia, such as the pale purple Sleepy Lotion by Lush, which boasts a cult-like following among the restless. Even podcasts like Sleep With Me or Sleep Whispers have been specially designed to bore, and in turn, help clock in more nighttime hours. And let’s not forget about creative pill cocktail-ing: “It’s not uncommon for people to tell me they’re taking an Ambien, two Tylenol PM, and a glass of wine and still only get 3 and a half hours of sleep at night,” says Michael Breus, Ph.D., a fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Desperate? That might be an understatement. But there’s exciting news for the bleary-eyed: A non-addictive, healthy bedtime fix already exists. And it’s really effective.

The official title—Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I)—carries the appeal of raw broccoli to an 8-year-old stuck at dinner, but it’s been shown to help 70 to 80 percent of people with the disorder, which is diagnosed after enduring broken, irregular, or inadequate sleeping habits at least three times a week. (After three months, it’s labeled chronic insomnia—a struggle for a staggering 10 percent of the population.) And for those with milder or new sleep problems who can’t seem to benefit from white noise, a chilled room, or fewer later-in-the-day caffeine fixes, CBT-I works beautifully, says Michael Grandner, Ph.D., director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona.

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