May 20, 2009

Behavior Therapy Works for Insomnia

People suffering from insomnia appear to benefit from cognitive behavior therapy (CBT).

A recent study found CBT used alone or with the medication zolpidem (Ambien) led to significant improvements in the amount of time it took to fall asleep, the amount of times a person woke up during the night, and how well a person slept during the initial therapy.

Researchers at the University Laval in Quebec, Canada, compared the short-term and long-term effects of CBT combined with the zolpidem on persistent insomnia to treatment with medication alone.

During the study, 160 adults were chosen randomly to either receive CBT or CBT plus zolpidem for an initial six-week therapy followed by a six-month therapy. The CBT included recommendations on how to improve sleep and education regarding misconceptions about sleep.

Will CBT work for all insomniacs? Researchers say the results from this study are promising. However, there is no treatment that works for every insomnia patient. Additional studies are needed to develop treatment to manage insomnia.

SOURCE: JAMA, May 20, 2009