Insomniacs should receive therapy instead of medication to cure their condition and help them sleep
- Researchers from Queen & # 39; s University in Canada said that therapy was better
- They like cognitive behavioral therapy was more effective than medication
- Current medical guidelines recommend CBT-I instead of sleeping pills.
Insomniacs should be prescribed therapy instead of sleeping pills, a study suggests.
It discovered that customized cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to address insomnia was better than medication, leading to "effective and lasting improvements in sleep."
The analysis of 13 studies with several hundred patients showed that CBT makes them fall asleep up to 30 minutes faster on average and reduces waking up during the night.
Researchers at Queen & # 39; s University in Canada said the therapy "has proven to be superior in comparison to sleeping pills in reducing the symptoms of insomnia and maintaining sleep improvements for years".
Researchers at Queen & # 39; s University in Canada said the therapy "has proved superior to reducing the symptoms of insomnia compared to sleeping pills."
Patients slept better after just four to six sessions of therapy.
Most CBT cures for insomnia start with a rigid sleep restriction regime to prevent patients from lying awake in bed for long periods of time.
They are instructed to leave the bedroom after 20 minutes of struggling to sleep and to limit the hours they spend in bed.
In the end, sleep deprivation removes any fear they feel before going to sleep, and sleep is followed.
The technique also includes sessions with a therapist and steps such as reducing caffeine, taking fewer naps and keeping a sleep diary to determine what can cause the problem.
GPs can refer people for CBT on the NHS, but patients often have long waiting times to get it. Doctors can also prescribe sleeping pills, but these can be addictive and lose their effectiveness over time.
They found that tailor-made cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to address insomnia was better than medication, leading to "effective and lasting improvements in sleep."
Professor Juliet Davidson, author of the study published today in the British Journal of General Practice, said: "There is now a way for general practitioners to help people with insomnia without prescribing medication. Extensive studies have shown that cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) is effective and long-lasting. It works well to let patients sleep well again.
"Current medical guidelines recommend CBT-I instead of sleeping pills."
Up to a third of British adults suffer from a form of insomnia. The sleep disorder is often caused by stress and can lead to irritability, feeling low and being tired during the day.
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, president of the Royal College of GPs, said: "Sleeping tablets may seem like an obvious treatment option, but they are usually effective for no more than a few days and GPs will only use them as a last resort.
"Customized CBT for insomnia has been a first-line treatment option for a long time and many patients find it beneficial, so it is really positive that its effectiveness has been demonstrated today by this study.
"Unfortunately, access to treatments such as CBT in the NHS can be very difficult to arrive and is very variable throughout the country."
She added that GPs should have access to more psychologists who have been trained in CBT.
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