A drug-free treatment will be trialed for people with symptoms of insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea in Brisbane, Australia.

Led by Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane, in partnership with The Prince Charles Hospital, the trial is for people with the two overlapping sleep disorders and will test if insomnia therapy can improve sleep apnea treatments and lead to better overall sleep quality.

Sleep researcher associate professor Simon Smith, from QUT’s Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety-Queensland (CARRS-Q), says in a release: “Many people can have an occasional bad night’s sleep, but when that bad night becomes a pattern and continues for more than a few months, it can have a significant impact on a person’s daily life.”

Professor Smith says volunteers are being sought to take part in the 6-month trial, and there was a website for people to self-assess if they are suitable to take part. “This trial is for people who think they may have, or have recently been diagnosed with, insomnia and sleep apnea but are not currently undertaking Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) treatment or cognitive behavior therapy,” he says. “About 30% of patients with sleep apnea also have insomnia. The combination of these disorders may make it harder to manage each disorder in isolation. A combined approach that provides the gold standard treatment for both disorders needs to be trialled.”

Professor Smith says the trial will investigate whether cognitive behavioral therapy can be used to improve sleep apnea treatments. “What we are offering is the gold standard in treatment for these two sleep disorders,” he says.