Cognitive behavioral therapy for six weeks may treat insomnia better than drugs, according to a study by researchers at the University of Bergen in Norway.
The study included 46 participants over the age of 55 who had suffered from insomnia for three months or more. The participants were randomly assigned to receive weekly 50-minute therapy sessions, a drug called xopiclone or a placebo for six weeks. It was found that:
- Those who received therapy increased the time they spent in bed actually sleeping from 81.4 percent to 90.1 percent.
- Those who received zopiclone had a decrease in sleep efficiency, from 82.3 percent to 81.9 percent.
- Therapy participants spent more time in the deepest stages of sleep and less time awake at night than those who received zopiclone or placebo.
The researchers concluded that cognitive behavioral therapy is more effective than zopiclone for treating chronic insomnia. The therapy included education about lifestyle factors that influence sleep, such as sticking to a sleep schedule, as well as how to correct poor sleep habits and perform relaxation techniques.
Americans are taking more sleeping pills than ever before. Drug companies spent over $300 million in 2005 to advertise sleep aids -- a more than four-fold increase over 2004.
This is especially problematic as, like nearly all drug solutions, there are many potential dangers from taking sleeping pills.
More than 82 million Americans routinely have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. For those who have ever experienced a few sleepless nights in a row you are likely familiar with the feeling of desperation that sets in as you struggle to function during the following day.
If it's any consolation, you are not alone. Close to 40 percent of the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:country-region w:st="on">U.S.</st1:country-region> population over the age of 15 reports they've experienced insomnia at least occasionally.
Methods to Help You Sleep
If you're suffering from insomnia it may be tempting to look to a pill for an immediate solution, but in the long-term the effects of these drugs are likely to be worse than those of the insomnia. Here are my top 11 suggestions from my Guide to a Good Night's Sleep for those of you who are having sleep problems.
For 19 more tips, visit the "Guide to a Good Night's Sleep."