Sleeping pill medication is the quickest fix for insomnia. But a form of talk therapy works just as well, and is likely to be a long-term rather than a short-term fix.
Photo by Timothy Krause
Cognitive behavioural therapy has been recognised for years as a good treatment for insomnia. A recent analysis published in Annals of Internal Medicine concludes that, across 20 studies in adults, the therapy is consistently effective at treating insomnia. One of the authors told NPR that the results were as good as what sleeping pills usually give, although the studies didn't directly compare therapy and pills.
"A medication just puts a blanket over that anxiety and helps people get rest," [author David] Cunnington says. "But cognitive behavioural therapy addresses the core problems, challenging people's thinking around sleep. It can actually break the cycle of chronic insomnia."
With this type of therapy, typically you'll meet with a sleep psychologist for four to six sessions, and talk about sleep: why you have trouble with it, and how you can set yourself up for better Z's. The take-home techniques involve relaxation techniques and creating bedtime routines. Read more at the link below for more on the latest sleep science.