Computerized cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is effective in treating sleep problems. Researchers from the University of Manitoba in Canada studied 118 adults with chronic insomnia. Half of them used a computerized CBT programme and half were placed on a waiting list for treatment. The programme was made up of information about insomnia and sleep hygiene, stimulus control instruction, relaxation training, sleep restriction and cognitive therapy. The cognitive therapy part of the programme was designed to help individuals develop realistic expectations about sleep and the impact of sleep on their functioning the next day while teaching them a variety of strategies for coping with worries and an over-active mind. The results showed that 81% of the people using the programme showed at least mild improvement in their sleep and 35% rated themselves as much, or very much, improved. 30% of people who finished the programme managed to get an extra hour's worth of sleep. They also developed healthier attitudes about sleep and were less likely to have an over-active mind at bedtime. However, there was a 33% drop-out rate for the programme, compared to only 22% for 'in person' psychotherapy.
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