Insomnia and related excessive daytime sleepiness is a troubling trend in the United States. Now, a new study finds that web-based cognitive behavior therapy is effective and can help adults sleep better.
The finding is salient as insomnia has been associated with a range of physical and mental conditions, and adversely affects quality of life, productivity at work, and school performance.
Researchers discovered the adults assigned to receive the fully automated and interactive web-based Sleep Healthy Using the Internet (SHUTi) intervention had improved sleep compared with those adults just given access to a patient education website with information about insomnia.
The study findings appear online in JAMA Psychiatry.
Lee M. Ritterband, Ph.D., of the University of Virginia School of Medicine, led the clinical trial. His team evaluated the efficacy of the intervention from nine weeks to one year and included 303 adults.
The study is significant for although cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) has been established as the first-line recommendation for the millions of adults with chronic insomnia, there has been a paucity of trained clinicians to deliver this much needed treatment.
Internet-delivered CBT-I has shown promise as a method to overcome this obstacle; however, the long-term effectiveness has not been proven in a representative sample with chronic insomnia.
The new research now suggests that Internet-delivered cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia provides a less expensive, scalable treatment option.
The proof of concept means that effective insomnia intervention can now be delivered to previously unimaginable numbers of people.
Researchers believe the next step is working out the details.
“Future studies are necessary to determine who may be best served by this type of intervention and how the next steps of dissemination should occur,” the study concludes.