Insomnia Therapy in Edinburgh

Welcome to Edinburgh Therapy Service, where we understand the challenges that come with insomnia. We provide compassionate and non-judgmental first-line therapy treatments to support you on your journey to better sleep. Your well-being is our priority, and we are here to assist you every step of the way.

What is insomnia?

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder where the person faces difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or achieving quality sleep, even when provided with the right time and environment for rest. It can interfere with daily activities and lead to daytime sleepiness.


Short-term insomnia may be triggered by stress or changes in schedules and surroundings, lasting for a few days or weeks. On the other hand, chronic insomnia persists for three or more nights per week, extends beyond three months, and cannot be entirely explained by other health issues.


The most significant aspect of insomnia is its impact during wakefulness. Poor nighttime rest and daytime fatigue are associated with traffic accidents, low academic and work performance, irritability, arguments, headaches, and caffeine abuse. Caffeine abuse often leads to a new episode of insomnia the following night, creating a vicious cycle that is challenging to break.

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Our therapists are qualified and registered with reputable professional associations for psychotherapy and counselling.

Types of insomnia

Insomnia can be categorised depending on how long it lasts. Using the three-month mark as a threshold, we can identify two types: chronic insomnia and acute insomnia.


Acute insomnia: This type is of short duration, typically lasting for a few nights or up to a few weeks. It is often triggered by specific events or situations such as stress, changes in routine, or a traumatic experience. Acute insomnia tends to resolve itself once the underlying cause is addressed.


Chronic insomnia: Chronic insomnia is of long-term duration, persisting for a month or more. Unlike acute insomnia, it is not always linked to a specific event and can become a more persistent issue. Chronic insomnia may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, psychological factors, or lifestyle factors. 


When to seek help for insomnia?

Seeking help for insomnia is advisable when the sleep difficulties persist and significantly impact your daily life. Here are some signs that indicate it’s time to seek assistance for insomnia:

➤   Excessive daytime sleepiness

➤   Fatigue

➤   Lack of concentration

➤   Decreased hours of sleep or excessive nighttime awakenings

➤   Persistent duration

➤   Dependence on sleep aids

➤   Persistent worry about sleep

Therapy for insomnia

Cognitive-behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) is the first-line treatment for chronic insomnia in adults of any age.



CBT-I focuses on exploring the connection between how we think, the things we do, and how we sleep. During the treatment, a CBT therapist works with the client to identify thoughts, feelings, and behaviours that contribute to insomnia symptoms.


Thoughts and feelings regarding sleep undergo thorough examination and testing for accuracy, while behaviours are closely analysed to assess their impact on promoting sleep. Following this, the therapeutic focus shifts towards reshaping misconceptions and overcoming challenges in a manner conducive to achieving restful sleep.


Central to the CBT-I approach is the provision of crucial information that shows the profound connection between thoughts, feelings, behaviours, and sleep. Additionally, behavioural interventions, including relaxation training, stimulus control, and sleep restriction, actively foster relaxation and contribute to establishing enduring, healthy sleep habits.


According to your needs, the sleep specialist may recommend techniques as the following:


Change your routine: Establish a consistent schedule for going to bed and waking up. Avoid taking naps. Use the bed only for sleeping and intimate activities.


Set sleep limits: Lying in bed while awake can become a habit leading to sleep problems. If you can’t fall asleep within 20 minutes, get up and don’t go back to bed until you feel sleepy. However, don’t alter your wake-up time, as this can make you more tired the next night. As sleep improves, the amount of time you sleep will gradually increase.


Modify lifestyle habits: Change habits that contribute to sleep problems, such as smoking, consuming too much caffeine late in the day, and excessive alcohol consumption. Lack of regular physical activity can also lead to sleep problems. Seek advice on sleeping better, such as ways to relax one or two hours before bedtime.


Enhance your sleep environment: Create a comfortable sleep zone. Keep the room quiet, dark, and cool. Avoid having a TV in the room. Keep a clock out of sight.


Learn relaxation techniques: These techniques help calm the mind and body. Some of them include meditation, guided visualisation, and muscle relaxation.


Stay passively awake: With this method, when in bed, try not to focus on falling asleep. Worrying about being unable to sleep can keep you awake. Eliminating this concern helps you relax and makes falling asleep easier.

Our approach to insomnia counselling

In line with our commitment to providing premier treatments, we offer cognitive-behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), aligning with the recommendations set forth by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). NICE, a UK-based organisation, serves as an authoritative source, delivering national guidance and counsel to enhance health and social care practices.


Insomnia can manifest through various symptoms, which may include:


➤   Difficulty falling asleep

➤   Frequent awakenings

➤   Trouble staying asleep

➤   Daytime sleepiness

➤   Irritability and mood changes

➤   Difficulty concentrating

➤   Decreased performance

➤   Tension and worry about sleep

➤   Physical symptoms like headaches, gastrointestinal issues, and other physical discomforts.


Insomnia can be a primary issue or associated with other conditions. Common causes of insomnia include:


Stress: High levels of stress, whether related to work, relationships, or life events, can contribute to difficulty falling or staying asleep.


Anxiety and depression: Mental health conditions, especially anxiety disorders and depression, are frequently associated with insomnia. Insomnia can be both a symptom and a contributing factor to these disorders.


Irregular sleep schedule: Inconsistent bedtime and wake-up times, including irregular sleep patterns or frequent changes in sleep routines, can disrupt the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.


Poor sleep hygiene: Habits and practices that impact good sleep hygiene, such as using electronic devices before bedtime, having a stimulating bedroom environment, or consuming caffeine late in the day, can lead to insomnia.


Medical conditions: Certain health issues, including chronic pain conditions, respiratory disorders like asthma, gastrointestinal problems like acid reflux, and neurological conditions, may contribute to sleep difficulties.


Medications: Some medications, particularly those that affect the central nervous system or have stimulating properties, may interfere with normal sleep patterns and contribute to insomnia.


Substance use: The use of substances such as nicotine and caffeine, especially close to bedtime, can disrupt sleep. Additionally, alcohol consumption, while initially inducing drowsiness, can lead to fragmented and disrupted sleep later in the night.


Shift work and jet lag: Disruptions to the body’s internal clock due to shift work, irregular work hours, or rapid changes in time zones during travel can result in insomnia.


Age-related factors: Insomnia may become more prevalent with age. Changes in sleep architecture and an increased likelihood of medical conditions affecting sleep can contribute to insomnia in older adults.


Hormonal changes: Hormonal fluctuations, such as those occurring during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause, can impact sleep patterns and contribute to insomnia.

Do you offer insomnia therapy near me?

The Edinburgh Therapy Service offers both in-person insomnia counselling in Edinburgh (United Kingdom), and convenient online therapy accessible worldwide. We offer a range of evidence-based approaches including acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), compassion-focused therapy (CFT), mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT). 

Your insomnia therapist in Edinburgh

Meet your insomnia therapist in Edinburgh, providing support to help you overcome sleep challenges. With a compassionate approach, we are committed to understanding your unique needs and guiding you towards restful nights. Whether it’s addressing stress, establishing healthy sleep habits, or tackling underlying causes, our therapist is here to support your journey to better sleep and improved well-being.


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Further reading

The Edinburgh Therapy Service is a psychotherapy and counseling practice based in Edinburgh, Scotland (United Kingdom). We offer therapy both in-person in Edinburgh and online, available in English and Spanish.

Contact info

Contact us for more information or to book your first appointment: [email protected]