Getting out of bed may be the key to helping insomnia, a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests.
The study, done by a team of researchers at the University of Pittsburgh school of Medicine and led by Daniel Buysse, followed 79 adults with chronic insomnia who averaged 72 years of age.
Buysee wanted to find out if cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, which is just as effective as a pill according to previous research, could be shortened and simplified at lower costs. In the past, these pill-free therapies have been very involved and too pricey for the general population.
One conclusion from the behavioral study stated by Buysee, “When you are sleeping poorly, the most important thing you can do is spend less time in bed.”
Insomnia is defined as the difficulty in initiating, or maintaining, sleep and an estimated 30%-50% of the general population are affected by this sleep disorder. Statistically insomnia seems to affect more women than men and it’s incidence tends to increase with age.
Insomnia can affect a person’s ability to function during the day which can lead to accidents, and a wide range of various physical symptoms, including hypertension and inflammation.
The study focused on using cognitive behavioral therapy for the participants that were unable to get to sleep. The participants were given either printed educational materials about sleep, or 2 brief behavioral in-person treatment sessions followed by 2 phone call sessions.
The mental health nurse practitioner conducting the sessions focused the sleep instruction on restricting time in bed and setting regular sleep and wake-up schedules. The practitioner also gave instructions on the biological reasons for the particular sleep strategies utilized in the behavioral therapy study.
Thomas Neylan of the University of California, San Francisco, gave comment to this research stating, “A lot of insomniacs spend a lot of time lying in bed worrying about their sleep, among other things. They expect to have insomnia.”
Neylan gave further recommendations for insomniacs by suggesting, “If you’re not ready to fall asleep, don’t lie down in bed and try to force yourself to sleep. And if you wake up in the middle of the night and don’t fall back asleep easily, get out of bed. You don’t want to have any linkage between the experience of lying in bed and being awake. “