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Review: Cognitive Behavioral Techniques Benefit Insomnia

Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia deemed helpful in meta-analysis

TUESDAY, June 9, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-i) helps patients fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, according to a review published online June 9 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

For their analysis, the researchers drew statistics from 20 studies, involving 1,162 patients, with an average age of 56. Sixty-four percent of participants were women. Each of the studies assessed at least three of five CBT-i techniques. The studies included adults with insomnia but no medical or psychiatric problems that disrupt sleep such as sleep apnea or depression.

Individuals who participated in CBT-i fell asleep 20 minutes sooner, on average, and slept 30 minutes more each night, the investigators said. "Effects appeared to continue over time and to result in an improvement in symptoms and general well-being," lead author James Trauer, M.B.B.S., M.P.H., a sleep physician with the Melbourne Sleep Disorders Center in Australia, told HealthDay.

"Before the treatment, the average time to get to sleep was just under an hour and the average time awake in bed after initially getting to sleep was about an hour and a quarter," Trauer said. "Time to get to sleep was improved by about 20 minutes, and time awake after initially getting to sleep decreased by about half an hour. We think these are significant improvements." Also, the proportion of time in bed spent asleep improved by about 10 percentage points, he said. "That represents a marked improvement as well and, most importantly, people felt significantly better after the treatment."

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