A new study confirms that psychological and behavioral therapies produce reliable changes in several sleep parameters of insomniacs, and are an effective treatment for insomnia.

The latest study, conducted by Charles M. Morin, PhD, of Universite Laval in Quebec, Canada, focused on 37 treatment studies – enrolled by a total of 2,246 patients, 2,029 of which completed treatment – published between 1998 and 2004.

Therapy is Effective for Insomnia Participants of the study were 18 years of age and older who suffered from insomnia and had at least one treatment of either psychological or behavioral therapy. Subjects kept a one-to-two-week diary for the duration of treatment and for an additional one-to-two-week period at post treatment and follow-ups.

The results consistently showed that treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy and relaxation conditions were effective for primary insomnia, as well as insomnia associated with some medical conditions and, to a lesser extent, with psychiatric conditions.

Treatment benefits are well sustained over time. There is still limited evidence, however, of clinically meaningful changes beyond the reduction of insomnia symptoms, such as improved daytime functioning or quality of life.

“Although behavioral interventions are not very well known and infrequently used in medical practice, the current findings clearly show that they are an effective method for treating a prevalent and costly health problem, and should be used as a first-line treatment for chronic insomnia,” said Morin.

Source: American Academy of Sleep Medicine