Sleepless nights are brutal. They affect the way we think, the way we feel, the way we move, the way we look. Previous studies have shown that 15 percent (15%) of the world’s adult population suffer from chronic insomnia, which in turn leads to anxiety, depression or even conditions such as type 2 diabetes. If you are of them, your treatment options may have just widened.
Recent research has found that those who dislike taking sleeping pills, may benefit greatly from employing cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) techniques. In fact, researchers at the Melbourne Sleep Disorders Center in Australia say that not only do these techniques chase away insomnia, they are quite possibly even more efficient than medicine. Not to mention cheaper and healthier since they don’t cause dependence.
Cognitive behavior therapy is a type of talk therapy used in order to make people change their thought patterns, with the goal of helping them acquire better responses to situations.
The findings, published on June 9, 2015, in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, have shown that subjects who tried out sleep-enhancing techniques usually drifted off into sleep 20 minutes sooner, woke up less, and got 30 more minutes of sleep each night. The improvements in behavior are also long-lasting.
Dr. James Trauer, lead author and sleep physician with the Melbourne Sleep Disorders Center in Australia, gave a statement informing that the effects of the treatment appeared to continue over time and that they lead to an improvement in symptoms and general well-being.
He went on to express how surprised he is that people aren’t more aware of just how effective this treatment is and wonder why it isn’t made available more often to patients.
For their project, Dr. Trauer and his team looked at 20 previously published studies that assessed three (3) or more of the five (5) sleep-enhancing techniques. The subjects were all adults who battled insomnia without having any other medical problems or mental illnesses.
The researchers found that this type of patients could be helped using cognitive behavior therapy, but that they would have to be prepared to work hard on changing their behavior and their attitudes towards sleep.
Dr. Trauer explained that “Before the treatment, the average time to get to sleep was just under an hour and the average time awake in bed after initially getting to sleep was about an hour and a quarter”.
The treatment eventually helps patients fall asleep 20 minutes quicker than before, wake up less after initially drifting off, and spend about 10 percent (10%) more time being asleep.
The researchers share that patients suffering fro n chronic insomnia get stressed by lying in bed. This can be fought off by using talk therapy to reduce anxiety and chase away any negative thoughts that people may have about sleeplessness.
A technique called “stimulus control” is also employed in order to facilitate a positive connection between bed and sleep, however time spent in bed also has to be reduced.
The biggest advantage of using cognitive behavior therapy techniques may be that they teach patients skills that they can latter apply on themselves if symptoms resurface.
Image Source: nydailynews.com