People who suffer from insomnia are often given a sleeping pill to help them fall asleep. Such medications can help, but they do have side effects. A new study suggests that brief behavioral treatment for insomnia (or BBTI) can be an effective strategy.
In this trial, older adults were randomized to receive printed information or one-on-one counseling with a nurse practitioner. Those receiving behavioral intervention also got a follow-up session and telephone calls to reinforce the training. These volunteers were instructed to limit time in bed, get up at the same time every day, not go to bed until sleepy, and not stay in bed unless asleep.
Data from sleep diaries and instruments indicated significant success at the end of the month. More than half of the subjects who had gone through BBTI no longer had insomnia, compared to 13 percent of those offered information on sleep. The researchers found that the sleep improvements were maintained for at least six months, and believe brief behavioral treatment for insomnia could offer a practical alternative.
[Archives of Internal Medicine, May 23, 2011]