Insomnia, ‘the sleep thief’ — and how to steal your zzz’s back


Nearly everyone has spent at least one or two hours lying in bed wishing for sleep. But for the 30% of Americans suffering from insomnia, it’s a nightly occurrence. If you’re looking for a different and effective option to treat your possible insomnia, Comprehensive Sleep Care Center’s new insomnia guru Suzanne Dahl, can help.

Dahl says you should first ask yourself: have you ever experienced any of these issues and have they lasted more than a few weeks?

  • Difficulty in falling asleep
  • Difficulty in staying asleep
  • Early awakening
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Lack of concentration
  • Irritability
  • Poor job or school performance
  • Forgetfulness
  • Depression or anxiety

If you answered yes, then you could have insomnia. Clinical studies have shown links between insomnia and increased risks of depression, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. In fact, research suggests adults with a history of insomnia are almost 4 times as likely as those without the condition to become depressed. Chronic insomnia can also result in reduced health-related quality of life, decreased job performance, and increased risks of disability. Furthermore, insomnia can also lead to drowsy driving –   from dozing at stop lights to having difficulty staying awake while driving to work or carpool. Driving drowsy is dangerous for you and those around you.

You should know that there are several different treatment options for insomnia, including a type of therapy clinically proven to be more effective than sleeping pills:

Sleeping pills might seem like the easier way to go but they don’t improve your overall situation.  They are also supposed to be a temporary measure. They lose their efficacy over time. In addition to the possibility of developing a dependence on pills, there may be side effects to many of these medications, such as a “drowsy hangover” or having a hard time waking up.  There are also some potentially more serious side effects.

Recent studies in the Journal of the American Medical Association and the Archives of Internal Medicine found that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) was more effective than sleeping pills. CBT-I has consistently been proven to be the most effective first line of treatment for chronic insomnia. It improves sleep in 75% to 80% of insomnia patients. CBT-I also reduces or eliminates sleeping pill use in 90% of patients. Most importantly, unlike medications, CBT-I helps people overcome the underlying cause of the sleep problem. An added bonus is that the beneficial effects of CBT-I typically last well beyond the end of therapy.


CBT-I will help your insomnia in as little as four sessions. Here’s how it works:

• Treatment is focused and usually takes 4 to 8 sessions

• The patient learns about sleep, optimal sleep times and conditions

• The patient gains knowledge about relaxation and awareness strategies

• The patient will learn to identify patterns and behaviors that may unwittingly undermine sleep

  Sleep efficiency (the amount of time you sleep vs. how much time you’re actively trying to sleep) improves

CBT-I is covered by insurance.

Learn more about our Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and say hello to sleep again by scheduling a consult with Suzanne Dahl, PA-C, CBT-1, by calling 703.729.3420 or emailing