A new study comes to confirm that there is little pills can do to fight insomnia. However, cognitive behavioural therapy is a far more efficient option.
Sleeping pills or other drug-based treatments are not addressing the main issue at hand. In the case of sleep apnea, which is a different diagnostic, such conservative treatments have results. In the case of chronic insomnia, not addressing the underlying fears or behavioural patterns that lead to this diagnosis only makes for a temporary cover-up.
Chronic insomnia should be fought by looking at root causes and trying to address them, says a new study coming from the Melbourne Sleep Disorders Center, Australia. The study is authored by James M. Trauer.
According to his analysis, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is highly efficient in treating and curing chronic insomnia and as such, CBT should be made available to patients at lower costs.
Face-to-face trials were conducted on a pool of 1,162 patients over 20 trials. The basic condition was that insomnia was not caused by medical conditions.
Chronic insomnia represents the inability to fall asleep or keep asleep for longer periods. Also, daytime activities, as well as the patientsț mood, critical assessment abilities and throughtout performance are severely impaired by chronic insomnia.
The trials were developed on a number of categories. Firstly, the selected participants had to work with a specialized therapist in order to identify root causes of insomnia, such as the fear of failing or missing out on something. Secondly, these dysfunctional habits had to be removed.
Another category of the studies focused on sleep hygiene. Furthermore, patients learned to spend less time in bed and actually reduce this period to sleeping. Connected to sleep hygiene, the therapists taught the patients how to control sleep stimuli.
Lastly, a newer category was introduced. It included the teaching and performing of relaxation techniques.
The control groups were represented by people who were on a waiting list of any sorts, a group who was administered placebo pills and others who did not undergo CBT.
Cognitive behavioural therapy was proved to have significant beneficial effects on the participants in this group. On average, 19 minutes of the time spent falling asleep were cut off. Keeping asleep improved with an average of 26 minutes, and overall night sleep increased by seven minutes.
Patients were included in average age group of 56 years old. 64 percent of the people included in the trials were women. And none of the participants had been previously diagnosed with either depression or sleep apnea.
The results of the Melbourne study are published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
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