Insomnia sufferers in England could have greater access to successful treatment, thanks to a training program developed as part of trials of Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Insomnia (CBTi), funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
In Britain, people report having insomnia more often than any other psychological condition, including anxiety, depression, and even pain, according to the Office of National Statistics. Yet the only treatment offered in most doctors’ surgeries is a course of sleeping tablets.
"It is well known that sleeping pills can be addictive and their efficacy wears off over time," says Professor Kevin Morgan of Loughborough University who led the trials. "It is also known that CBTi can treat insomnia more effectively than drugs in the long term. However, until now major barriers to delivering CBTi have included a shortage of trained therapists and the absence of an appropriate clinical service through which to deliver treatments."
The trials involved delivering the principles of cognitive behavioral management for insomnia, in a structured program of “self-help.” Patients were given six weekly booklets that explained how sleep works and how to gain control of it. They were given access to a helpline, staffed by “expert patients” who were themselves insomnia sufferers.
The trials proved that CBTi can benefit people with insomnia at any age. It can even be successful for sufferers with other chronic illnesses, as well as those who are particularly prone to insomnia.