Dreaming of a good night's sleep: Unravelling the insomnia 'cures' to find the best way to nod off

Millions of Britons are missing out on a good night's sleep as a result of insomnia - an estimated one-third of all adults suffer from it at some point in their lives. Desperate for rest, they face a bewildering choice of treatments, from talking therapies, to pills and herbs.

But what really works - or are sleeping pills the only solution?

Researchers at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) believe they now have the answer. They have reviewed all the studies on the more popular treatments to see which ones do actually work, which might work, and which are a waste of time and money.


THE THEORY: Also known as talking therapy, CBT is based on trying to change the actions or thoughts that stop you sleeping well - for example, tackling anxiety or stress. You're also taught to stop behaviour that hinders sleep, such as going to bed too early, or watching TV in bed.

The treatment itself involves a number of sessions - depending on the individual - with a trained counsellor to tackle the negative thinking.

The main advantage is that unlike most other therapies for insomnia, it tackles the underlying problem and not just the symptoms.

THE EVIDENCE: U.S. research has shown that CBT is a very effective treatment for insomnia and in some studies worked better than sleeping pills.

One study, at Duke University found that patients who had CBT slept twice as long as they had before treatment. Those in a placebo group experienced only 12 per cent more sleep.

The good results of CBT could be seen after six weeks and remained even six months later.

CONCLUSION: Behavioural therapy is effective and long-lasting.

Source - Daily Mail

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