A new study presented Wednesday at SLEEP 2008 found that cognitive behavioral intervention for insomnia delivered by the Internet could significantly improve the disorder in adults.

Lee Ritterband, PhD, of the University of Virginia, author of the study, focused on 44 participants with an average age of 45. Through random selection, the participants were put into two categories—one group received cognitive behavioral intervention for insomnia via the Internet, and the other were put in a wait-list control.

Results showed sleep improving significantly for those who received the intervention on the Internet. Control participants showed no change.

Additionally, sleep efficiency improved significantly for the experimental group during the treatment period, while the control group showed no change. The experimental group also gained 80 minutes of sleep time from pre- to post- assessment, while the control group gained a slight 9 minutes.

“We believe these types of web based treatment programs have the potential to impact countless individuals around the world,” says Ritterband. “Specifically related to insomnia, the availability of non-pharmacological help is significantly lacking. The Internet may prove an effective tool to more broadly disseminate cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia.”