Study Yields Encouraging (but Resource Intensive) Insomnia/CBT Results

A study appearing in the current issue of the journal Sleep reports on the impact of nonpharmacological sleep treatments on patient reported sleep quality, pain, and well-being in people with chronic pain conditions, both cancer and noncancer, including back pain, arthritis, and fibromyalgia. The researchers, from the University of Warwick in the UK, conclude that cognitive behavioral therapies (CBT) were either moderately or strongly effective in tackling insomnia in patients with long-term pain. The resultant sleep improvements produced further patient benefits in the areas of pain, fatigue, and depression. But the report also concludes that these benefits only accrued when the CBT was delivered in person.

Insomnia is a debilitating comorbidity of chronic pain, and previous studies have linked poor sleep to obesity, diabetes, stroke, coronary disease, and elevated risk of death. Lead author Nicole Tang, DPhil, noted that this research was “particularly important because the use of drugs to treat insomnia is not recommended over a long period of time,” which means the “condition needs to be addressed using a nonpharmacological treatment.” The study took the form of a meta-analysis of 72 studies that assessed the impact of various nondrug treatments for insomnia, including sleep hygiene education, stimulus control, and sleep restriction, in addition to cognitive behavioral therapy.

For more about insomnia, click here.

To read more about CBT, click here.

Read more about the conclusions here.

The journal abstract may be read here.




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