There are a number of reasons that people are unable to sleep at night, and insomnia is one of them. Many people suffering from insomnia rely on sleeping pills and other medications to get their rest. However, in a latest study, from the Melbourne Sleep Disorders Center in Australia, researchers have emphasized the usefulness of therapies to treat insomnia, rather than medications.
Statistics show that nearly 10 percent of Americans suffer from chronic insomnia. In addition, nearly 6 percent to 8 percent of the population take sleeping pills to be able to sleep properly at night. A thorough review of the evidence suggests that therapy is a far better antidote than the sleeping pills.
“We wanted to pull together all the smaller studies that have been done on cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia to really get a bigger pool of data and a better idea of how effective this is,” said lead researcher Dr. David Cunnington.
In the study, the subject population was subjected to a change in lifestyle, including walking and going to bed at about the same time everyday. In addition, they were asked to read instead of watching TV late at night. Subjects were also asked to cut down on consumption of alcohol and caffeine.
All these practices are a part of a cognitive behavioral therapy approach to insomnia, or CBT-i. This therapy aims at eliminating the unproductive thinking problems in insomniacs that make it difficult to sleep. Though it does not cure insomnia, it is better at managing the condition than taking sleeping pills.
“A medication just puts a blanket over that anxiety and helps people get rest," explained Dr. Cunnington. "But cognitive behavioral therapy addresses the core problems, challenging peoples’ thinking about sleep. It can actually break the cycle of chronic insomnia.”
The researchers found that the subjects were able to fall asleep 20 minutes faster than they used to before practicing the therapeutic measures. In addition, they woke up less in the middle of the night, thus increasing the occurrence of sound sleep by 10 percent. The doctors believe that the therapy should be widely available to people, as insomnia affects so many and can make life very difficult for those who suffer from it.