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Feb 24
Behavioural therapy for insomniac seniors
A brief, individualised counselling programme can help improve sleep in older adults with insomnia.

Chronic insomnia is a common health problem with substantial consequences in older adults. Cognitive behavioural treatments are efficacious but not widely available. To test the efficacy of brief behavioural treatment for insomnia vs. an information control condition, researchers from America involved 79 insomnia patients, with an average age of about 72 years, who were divided into two groups. The 39 patients in the treatment group received four sessions of individualised behavioural counselling from a nurse clinician. Two sessions were conducted in person and two by phone. The 40 patients in the control group received only general printed educational material about insomnia and sleep habits.

After four weeks, more patients in the behavioural treatment group than the control group showed a favourable response (67 percent versus 25 percent) or no longer had insomnia (55 percent versus 13 percent).

The results suggest that for every 2.4 patients treated with the counselling programme, one would respond favourably and one would no longer have insomnia.

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