Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Brief intervention offers hope to insomnia sufferers

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have been looking into the effectiveness of a very brief therapy for adults with insomnia. They studied 79 older adults, with an average age of 72. Half received printed educational material aobut sleep and half received a brief behavioural treatment made up of one 45-60 minute face-to-face session, on 30-minute follow-up session and two 20-minute phone calls - a therapy much briefer than the usual six or eight-hour long appointments with a clinical psychologist. The behavioural instruction told the participants to stay in bed if they didn't feel sleepy and to have regular bed and waking-up times and also told them about the biology of sleep and body clocks. Two thirds of the people in the brief-treatment group improved after four weeks compared to only one in four in the other group. By the end of the trial 55% of the participants in the treatment group no longer had insomnia compared to only 13% in the other group, improvements which were sustained for at least six months.

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