Traditional treatment of male insomnia involves prescription of a pharmaceutical by the primary care provider.
However, other options are available including the use of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a technique that has shown considerable success among this patient population.
CBT is a psychotherapy based on modifying everyday thoughts and behaviors with the aim of positively influencing emotions.
Despite the efficacy of CBT, experts suggest a limited awareness of CBT services and the fact that men tend to seek help less frequently for their insomnia than women are contributing factors for the limited use of talk therapies among this population.
Consequently, a new therapy format is suggested – implementation of a CBT workshop — as an effective means for getting men to seek help for the sleep disorder.
The concept is to be presented at SLEEP 2007, the 21st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).
The study, authored by June Brown, PhD, of King’s College in London, UK, was based on the decision to offer men-only workshops with day-long psychological treatment for insomnia. Men could refer themselves to the workshops, which were run in leisure centers.
The workshops attracted a large number of men during the six-month project, with 111 inquiries. Out of those who attended, just under 50 percent had never consulted their or primary care providers for their insomnia problems.
Six weeks after attending the day-long workshop, men reported significant improvements in their sleep, as well as reductions in their depression.
“Compared to women, men are usually very reluctant to seek help for their insomnia,” said Brown.
“Even if they do consult, services are not always available. Although effective psychological treatments have been developed, primary care providers often are not aware of these treatments, and psychology services are very stretched. This study shows that CBT workshops are an effective way to get men to come forward and get the treatment they need for their insomnia.”
Insomnia is a classification of sleep disorders in which a person has trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up too early. These disorders may also be defined by an overall poor quality of sleep. Insomnia is a common sleep disorder.
About 30 percent of adults have insomnia. It is more common among elderly people and women. Some medical conditions cause insomnia, or it may be a side effect of a medication.