Brief behavioral treatment for insomnia (BBTI) appears to be a promising intervention for older adults who suffer from insomnia, according to an article published in the October 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

The study, conducted by Anne Germain, PhD, and colleagues of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, focused on 17 older adults who were randomly assigned to receive BBTI and 18 selected for an information-only control (IC) condition. All participants completed clinician-administered and self-report measures of sleep quality, as well as a sleep diary. Interventions were delivered in a single individual session with a booster session administered 2 weeks later. Postintervention assessments were completed after 4 weeks.

The results showed significant improvements in sleep measures and in daytime symptoms of anxiety and depression in 71% of those individuals who received BBTI, compared to a 39% favorable response among IC participants. Furthermore, 53% of BBTI participants met criteria for remission, while 17% of those in the IC group met the same criteria.

“These preliminary findings are consistent with previous studies that have shown that brief behavioral insomnia interventions can be efficacious and remain efficacious in older adults who present with the typical psychiatric and medical comorbidities associated with aging,” the authors wrote.

Behavioral Treatments Beneficial for Children with Sleep Problems
The refusal of young children to go to bed at night can cause unnecessary stress for members of their family. However, parents and guardians can take comfort in knowing that behavioral treatments are an effective means for resolving a child’s bedtime problems and night wakings, according to an article published in the October 1 issue of the journal SLEEP.

The study, conducted by Jodi A. Mindell, PhD, of St Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, is based on a review of 52 treatment studies, involving 2,500 infants and toddlers, by a task force appointed by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM).

“The results indicate that behavioral therapies produce reliable and durable changes in bedtime problems and night wakings in infants and children,” Mindell wrote. “Across all studies, 94% report that behavioral interventions produced clinically significant improvements in bedtime problems and/or night wakings. Approximately 82% of children benefit from treatment and the majority maintain these results for 3 to 6 months.”

Mindell noted that additional research is needed to examine the delivery methods of treatment, longer-term efficacy, and the role of pharmacological agents. According to Mindell, studies have shown that 20% to 30% of young children have significant bedtime problems and/or night wakings. In addition, night wakings are among the most common sleep problems in infants and toddlers, with 25% to 50% of children over the age of 6 months waking during the night.

AASM offers the following tips to help a child sleep better:
• Follow a consistent bedtime routine. Set aside 10 to 30 minutes to get children ready to go to sleep each night.
• Establish a relaxing setting at bedtime.
• Interact with children at bedtime. Don’t let the TV, computer, or video games take the place of the parent.
• Keep children from TV programs, movies, and video games that are not right for their age.
• At bedtime, do not allow children to have foods or drinks that contain caffeine. Try not to give children any medicine that has a stimulant at bedtime.