Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I)

Therapy for Insomnia

Are you struggling with insomnia and would like to explore other solutions besides sleeping pills?

At PULSE, we offer specialised therapy for insomnia led by a clinical psychologist. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) is an evidence-based therapy designed to help people develop skills and strategies to manage insomnia and improve their sleep. It has been supported by research to be effective for insomnia and improving sleep quality, and recommended as a ‘first-line treatment for insomnia’ before resorting to medications.

What is Insomnia?

Insomnia is defined by a dissatisfaction with the amount or quality of one’s sleep.  

You may be experiencing it in one or more of the following patterns: 

  • Difficulty falling asleep, even when tired
  • Waking up in the middle of the night and unable to return to sleep
  • Waking up too early in the morning

It is normal to experience short-term sleep disturbances due to various life events. However,  prolonged insomnia– such as one that continues for weeks, can be distressing, makes it challenging for one to function productively day-to-day, as well as affects the quality of life.

What is CBT-I?

CBT-I is derived from Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), a psychotherapy approach based on the principle that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are interconnected, and by changing one, we can influence the others

CBT-I has been adapted to focus on changing negative thoughts and behaviours that contribute to insomnia. It also includes other techniques to improve sleep habits. 

CBT-I is a short-term, structured therapy that typically lasts for 4-8 weeks.

How does CBT-I work?

CBT-I is conducted by a psychologist or therapist trained in the approach. The therapy involves identifying and challenging negative thoughts and beliefs about sleep, as well as additional techniques such as relaxation training to help promote sleep. Techniques used in CBT-I  include:

Cognitive restructuring

It is common among people with prolonged insomnia to have a fear of not being able to sleep and have thoughts that exaggerate the consequences of insomnia. 

Based on the CBT premise that thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are connected, such thoughts would increase one’s anxiety level and trigger the body’s stress response, which would make one more awake and make it harder to fall asleep. This often triggers more fearful thoughts and anxiety, continuing the cycle.

CBT-I can help someone with insomnia to identify and challenge any unhelpful thoughts and worries about sleep that might be contributing to sleep difficulties, and have more neutral or positive thoughts towards sleep.

Sleep hygiene

Some of our daily habits; such as drinking too much coffee; may unknowingly be interfering with our sleep. This component of CBT-I involves identifying your daily habits that might interfere with sleep and practising healthy sleep habits instead, such as limiting caffeine consumption and screen time before bed.

Sleep reconditioning

This technique involves creating a strong association between the bed and sleep. This is achieved by only using the bed for sleep and sex, and avoiding activities such as watching TV or using electronic devices in bed. This is aimed to help you reassociate the bed and bedtime routines with sleep, so sleep can come more naturally when you are in bed.

Sleep restriction

This technique involves limiting the amount of time spent in bed to the actual amount of time spent sleeping. This helps to consolidate sleep and reduce the time spent lying awake in bed.

Relaxation training

This involves learning relaxation methods, such as progressive muscle relaxation or deep breathing, to reduce anxiety and calm the mind and body before bedtime.

Meet our Psychologist

Lead Clinical Psychologist

Dr Jaswyn Chin

Doctor of Psychology (Clinical), James Cook University Singapore

Bachelors of Art in Psychology, Murdoch University Australia

Registered Psychologist with Singapore Psychological Society (SPS)

Languages: English, Mandarin, Cantonese

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Dr. Jaswyn is a registered clinical psychologist with over 10 years of experience.  She has extensive experience providing intervention for various  a wide range of mental health issues from anxiety, depression, grief, insomnia, OCD, personality disorders, stress management to trauma. 

Dr Jaswyn adopts a person-centred approach to therapy where she believes in working collaboratively with individuals through the process of recovery. She is also trained in multiple therapeutic modalities including cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and eye movement desensitisation reprocessing therapy (EMDR).

During her free time, Jaswyn enjoys music and plays the piano. She is also a keen learner of new languages and loves to travel.

Get back to a good night’s sleep

Book your appointment with a PULSE+ psychologist

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    PSYCH x TCM for Insomnia

    In conjunction with our PULSE TCM clinics, you have the option of integrating traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) therapies which work through the physiological routes to improve insomnia.

    By integrating TCM with our psychologist services, you would likely experience faster, amplified improvement in your symptoms while working on making the critical, long-term changes through psychotherapy.


    What is the difference between a Psychologist and a Therapist or a Counsellor?

    A clinical psychologist usually has a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and a Master’s or Doctoral degree in clinical psychology. They would have received longer, more comprehensive training on psychological theories, mental health conditions, assessments, and therapeutic techniques. They are qualified to work with clients on a wider range of issues, from general life challenges, emotional problems, to mental health conditions.

    A counsellor or therapist, on the other hand, usually holds either a bachelor’s degree in counselling or psychology and/or a postgraduate diploma or master’s degree in counselling, which usually focus on general counselling or therapy skills. A counsellor or therapist typically helps clients on general life problems and challenges, such as stress, family or relationship issues. They may not have the resources or capacity to handle mental health cases such as clinical depression, anxiety or other diagnosed psychological conditions.

    What is the difference between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist?

    Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have completed medical school with further specialised training in psychiatry. In practice, they focus on diagnosing and treating mental health conditions through prescribing psychotropic medications (e.g. antidepressants, anxiety medications).  A psychologist, on the other hand, aims to help clients improve through therapeutic interventions. They focus on psychoeducation as well as changing the way clients respond (think and behave) to improve their conditions.

    Psychiatrist consultations are usually much briefer than therapy sessions, typically ranging from 15 to 30 minutes. The session usually focuses on keeping track of the patient’s symptoms and responses to medication, and in adjusting the prescription. Some psychiatrists; although less common; may also provide psychological interventions.

    It is common for clients with mental health conditions to see a psychiatrist to help alleviate some of their symptoms through medication, and also work with a psychologist to make longer-term changes that will help them recover from their conditions. Our psychologist would refer a client to also see a psychiatrist whenever it is deemed necessary.

    How can I prepare for the first session?

    There isn’t anything specific required from you. Our psychologist would guide you through the session by asking questions to get the information needed. Simply show up on time or slightly early on the appointment day to fill out the necessary forms. 

    How long does therapy usually last?

    The therapy sessions at PULSE is up to 60 minutes. When needed, there is also the option to extend the therapy time (charges apply). 

    How many sessions will I need?

    This varies widely among clients and usually depends on many factors, including the severity of their conditions, or complications of their presenting issues, motivation towards the therapy work, and more. Some clients may resolve their issues within a few sessions, while others may need long-term support. As a general guide, four to eight sessions are more common.

    Where are you located?

    PULSE+ Allied Health clinic is located at Camden Medical Centre, by Orchard Boulevard MRT. 

    How can I book an appointment?

    Simply fill out our Appointment form below and we will get back to you to confirm the appointment.

    How much will therapy cost?

    Please visit our Charges page for our rates.

    How can I contact you for other questions?

    If you have further questions, you may SMS or whatsapp us at 9831 9912 or email us at

    Have more questions?

    Visit our AskPULSE portal to ask our PULSE+ Allied Health specialists or PULSE TCM Physicians any questions about your health or our services.

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