Not having a good night’s sleep comes with bitter consequences – ask anyone suffering from insomnia. Finding solutions to the predicament can be quite challenging. Fortunately, scientists of a new study have come with a ray of hope: a one-hour therapy that proved to be successful on around 75 % of the participants who were relieved from the enormous burden of insomnia. The findings have been published in the journal SLEEP.
The trial involved a 60-minute therapy lasting for 3 months meant to cure from insomnia. Patients with acute insomnia volunteered for the sessions. The same treatment was used on patients with chronic insomnia, but never on those with the acute form of the condition. Therefore, this trial is regarded as extremely important because of its focus on the latter.
“There are numerous advantages to treating insomnia during an acute phase,” lead author Professor Ellis said in a statement. “If successful there is potential for significant savings in terms of long-term healthcare, lost productivity and accidents.”
40 adults suffering from acute insomnia (that is, they have not suffered from it for more than 3 months, as opposed to those with chronic insomnia) enlisted their participation. None of the volunteers were taking sleeping pills at that time, and nor did they try cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for insomnia in the past.
The participants were categorised into 2 groups: the first receiving only one 60-70 minute CBT session as well as a self-help leaflet to show them how to identify the problem and distance themselves from it, and the other received no treatment.
They were all required to record their sleeping patterns for one week before and one month after treatment. The measure of the nature and severity of the problem, known as Insomnia Severity Index, was then calculated one and three months after the treatment.
One month after treatment, 60 % of the patients of the first group and only 15 % from the second one alleged experiencing improvement. After three months, 73 % of the former reported improvements. Consequently, 70 % of the participants from the second group requested to undergo CBT.
“Chronic insomnia is a considerable health burden both on the individual and the economy and has been linked to the development of, or worsening of, a number of physical and psychiatric conditions,” says Professor Ellis. “It is also a highly prevalent and largely unrelenting condition, so anything we can do to stop acute insomnia developing to the chronic stage will be of real benefit.”