The People's Perspective on Medicine

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia Helps Combat Depression

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Insomnia and depression often go hand in hand. Researchers have wondered whether it’s a chicken or egg phenomenon. In other words, does depression trigger insomnia or do sleeping problems contribute to depression?

A new study may not answer the question of causality, but it shows that people who are depressed and can’t get a good night’s sleep benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy designed to counteract insomnia. The participants received four sessions of talk therapy two weeks apart. They kept track of their sleeping patterns in journals and they took pills, either antidepressants or placebos. Those who responded well to the cognitive therapy had far fewer symptoms of depression at the end of the eight week study regardless of which pill they were taking.

 [Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Nashville, Nov. 23, 2013]

Certain antidepressants and the sleeping pills that may be prescribed to treat insomnia linked to depression can be difficult to stop. Having the tools of cognitive behavioral therapy available whenever sleep might seem elusive could be a very healthy alternative.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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Google CBT for insomnia by Dr. Gregg Jacob. This program is based off his research at Harvard Medical School.

Can you send me the link to CBT

Can you send the link to the CBT online course you took? I am interested in checking it out. Thanks.

I would really like to know where or what this online course is. I’m up for anything at this point. Thanx

Years ago I did an online cognitive behavior therapy program for insomnia. It made such a huge difference.
I was unable to sleep without sleeping pills and they were becoming less effective over time. I was lucky to get 3-4 hours sleep a night. I did a six weeks online course and I was surprised at how it really helped. The course teaches you to be less stressed about not sleeping. The less worried you get about insomnia, the easier it is to relax and then you start sleeping more. I was very doubtful it would help, but I now sleep pretty well without medication. I still have sleepless nights occasionally but I don’t get upset about it anymore.
I’ve also learned to judge now when I’m feeling really out of sorts and know I won’t sleep. On those nights, I take 1/4 of sleeping pill to get to sleep. That happens maybe once every month or two instead of every night.
I’d strongly recommend CBT for insomnia, but you have to stick with the program. I’ve known others who tried the class, but quit after a week or two and they are still struggling with sleepless nights.

This summer I found a wonderful insomnia aid that is both safer and cheaper than sleeping pills. It is a “radio” on the computer that is called Pandora Radio. You need an I Pad or something like it to carry out this insomnia cure, and you need to subscribe to Pandora, but it’s only $4 a month, which is much cheaper than pills. You can create your own music selection by typing in a certain composer or piece of music and then that is the sort of music you get to listen to, hour after hour. I typed in “Maurice Ravel” and in an instant, lovely soothing music comes out of the computer!
It is perfect to go to sleep by. You can set a timer on the IPAD to turn the music off after 15 minutes, or whatever time you choose. It is so easy to do this, I can start the music playing in the middle of the night, if I wake up and start fretting about things, and I will more often than not, go back to sleep before the 15 minutes is up, rather than lying awake for the next hour or two, or never getting back to sleep again all night. It is so easy to start up the music, you don’t need to turn on the lights or try to concentrate on how to get it to work. This has been such a wonderful help for me. If you don’t know how to get this all started up, ask a young person. My smart son got this all started up for me this summer in about 5 or 10 minutes.

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