New insomnia treatment shows high efficacy compared to medic
If insomnia keeps you awake at night, Flinders University researchers recommend a trip to the doctor—not for a sleeping pill prescription but for a short course of intensive behavioral therapy.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for insomnia (or CBTi) improves insomnia, mental health, and quality of life, and can be more successful than sleeping pills, says Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health (AISH) sleep experts from Flinders University in a new paper in the Australian Journal of General Practice.

Insomnia is a common and debilitating disorder that is frequently associated with important consequences for physical and mental health and wellbeing. It often occurs in tandem with another common sleep disorder, obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).

Most patients with insomnia managed in general practice are prescribed potentially addictive sedative-hypnotic medicines (e.g. benzodiazepines), and never access the CBTi that would treat their underlying condition, they say.

Brief Behavioral Treatment for insomnia leads to long-term improvement of insomnia, mental health, and overall quality of life, and can help patients reduce their use of sedative-hypnotic medicines.

This clinical review published in the Australian Journal of General Practice provides GPs with a description of a four-session insomnia treatment program that is tailored to the time limitations, knowledge, and capacity of general practice staff.

Dr. Sweetman and his team are currently running two trials to provide GPs with a suite of tools and treatment options to manage patients with insomnia. Meanwhile, AISH and other sleep experts have also expanded ongoing investigations into better treatments for complex cases of combined insomnia, and sleep apnoea (COMISA), all conditions leading to doctor diagnoses and the need for targeted interventions.

"Much more investigation is required to understand these combined disorders and improve diagnostic and treatment approaches," researchers say in their paper, "Prevalence and associations of co-morbid insomnia and sleep apnoea in an Australian population-based sample."

Australian Journal of General Practice, Sleep Medicine