Category: EMDR


Can EMDR Cause Insomnia?

In recent years, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) has emerged as a highly effective therapeutic technique for individuals struggling with trauma-related issues. However, concerns about potential side effects, such as insomnia, have also arisen. It is important to note that while EMDR can occasionally lead to temporary sleep disturbances, it is unlikely to cause chronic or long-term insomnia.

In fact, EMDR aims to alleviate symptoms of insomnia associated with trauma by addressing the underlying emotional distress. With the guidance of a trained therapist, individuals can safely undergo EMDR therapy, gradually reducing the impact of traumatic experiences and promoting overall healing and well-being. By understanding the potential short-term effects of EMDR and working closely with a qualified professional, individuals can confidently embark on this transformative therapeutic journey.

This guide will help you explore what is EMDR, whether can EMDR cause insomnia, and many more.

What is EMDR?

EMDR was developed in the late 1980s by Francine Shapiro, a psychologist in California, as a way to treat PTSD. It is a form of psychotherapy that uses rapid eye movements, sounds, or taps to stimulate the brain, which helps reduce the intensity of traumatic memories. EMDR is based on the idea that traumatic events can become stuck in the brain and cause problems with emotional processing.

Additionally, EMDR is thought to work by helping the brain process traumatic memories more quickly and efficiently, which can reduce their emotional impact.

Can EMDR Cause Insomnia?

Insomnia is a common side effect of EMDR therapy. Some people may experience difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early. Insomnia after EMDR may be caused by several factors, including increased arousal, anxiety, and heightened emotions. Insomnia may also be a sign that the therapy is working, as the brain is processing traumatic memories and emotions.

What Are Common Symptoms After EMDR?

After an EMDR session, it is common to experience some symptoms, including fatigue, dizziness, nausea, and headache. These symptoms usually go away within a few hours or days after the therapy. Some people may also experience heightened emotions, vivid memories, or flashbacks after EMDR.

If you experience some of these symptoms after your EMDR session, it is important to talk to your therapist. They can provide support and help you manage any distress related to the symptoms.

Can EMDR Cause Nightmares?

EMDR can sometimes cause nightmares, especially if the therapy involves processing traumatic memories. Nightmares can be a sign that the brain is processing emotional material, but they can also be distressing and interfere with sleep. If nightmares persist after EMDR, it is important to talk to your therapist about adjusting the therapy.

Talking to your therapist throughout this process is important, as they can provide support and help you manage any distress related to EMDR. Additionally, it is important to practice good sleep hygiene to help promote better sleep quality.

What Are The Weaknesses of EMDR?

EMDR is generally considered safe and effective for treating PTSD and other emotional disorders. However, like any therapy, it has its weaknesses. EMDR may not be effective for everyone, and some people may experience adverse effects after the therapy. It may also be more expensive than other forms of therapy, as it requires specialized training and equipment.

In short, EMDR is not for everyone, and it can cause some adverse effects. As with any therapy, it is important to talk to your therapist about any concerns you may have.

When Is EMDR Not Recommended?

EMDR may not be recommended for people with certain medical or psychiatric conditions. For example, people with epilepsy, bipolar disorder, or dissociative disorders may not be good candidates for EMDR. Talking to your therapist about any medications you are taking is also important, as some medications may interact with EMDR.

What Are The Dangers of EMDR Therapy?

EMDR is generally considered safe when performed by a trained therapist. However, there are some risks associated with the therapy. These risks include increased anxiety, emotional distress, and re-traumatization. This is due to the fact that EMDR can involve processing traumatic memories, which can cause distress.

It is important to talk to your therapist about any concerns you may have before starting EMDR therapy. Additionally, it is important to ask for help if you start feeling overwhelmed or distressed during the session.


In conclusion, EMDR is a safe and effective therapy for treating PTSD, anxiety, and other emotional disorders. However, like any therapy, it has its risks and limitations. Insomnia, nightmares, and other adverse effects may occur after EMDR, but these symptoms usually go away within a few hours or days. If you are considering EMDR, it is important to talk to a trained therapist about the benefits and risks of the therapy.

Looking for a reliable therapist? Just give Cedarway Therapy a call. Our experts are more than equipped to handle your case with their evidence-based, compassionate approach. We can provide the support and guidance you need to get through this difficult time. Call now and start feeling better today!

FAQs About Can EMDR Cause Insomnia

Is it common to experience sleep disturbances after undergoing EMDR therapy?

While EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a highly effective therapy for trauma and other mental health issues, it’s possible to experience temporary sleep disturbances as a result of the therapy. This is because EMDR can bring up intense emotions and memories that may affect sleep patterns. However, it’s important to note that these disturbances are usually transient, and most individuals find their sleep patterns stabilize as they continue with therapy. It’s crucial to discuss any sleep-related concerns with your therapist, as they can provide tailored guidance and strategies to manage insomnia symptoms during the therapy process.

How does EMDR affect the brain and contribute to sleep-related changes?

EMDR is believed to work by stimulating bilateral brain activity through eye movements or other bilateral stimulation techniques. This process can activate emotional processing and facilitate the reintegration of traumatic memories. Due to the nature of the therapy, it’s possible for some individuals to experience heightened emotions and increased psychological arousal, which can affect sleep quality. However, as therapy progresses, individuals often find that their sleep patterns normalize, and they experience improved emotional regulation and overall well-being.

Are there strategies to manage insomnia symptoms during EMDR therapy?

Yes, there are strategies to manage insomnia symptoms during EMDR therapy. Your therapist may suggest relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises or mindfulness practices, to promote better sleep hygiene. Creating a calm bedtime routine, maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, and avoiding stimulating activities or substances before sleep can also contribute to improved sleep quality. It’s important to maintain open communication with your therapist and discuss any concerns or difficulties you may be experiencing to receive tailored support and guidance throughout your EMDR therapy journey.

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