Hope for the Restless

“Insomnia patients who focus on behavioral changes may be less stressed and more functional during the day than counterparts relying on medication, a recent study suggests.” (Via Reuters)

Like many people, I have suffered from episodes of acute insomnia, and over the years have adopted many of the recommended sleep hygiene techniques that emerged from research in sleep studies and other experiments. Reducing blue light screen exposure near bed time, reserving the bed strictly for sleeping (or intimacy) instead of reading or lounging there, and setting a wake up time that is consistent regardless of whether I “need to be up” or not are all effective strategies that have helped me a great deal.

However, the noteworthy result from this study that prompted me to post this had more to do with how people cope with not feeling well rested than it did with sleep regulation problems. Data from the study indicated that both therapy and therapy with medication helped clients regulate their sleep, but only the group who did not take medication had an increase in how they felt physically and emotionally during the day when they might not have gotten as much sleep as they’d like.

As a counselor I am often examining evidence that contrasts the benefits of therapy vs medication (or therapy with medication). It is important to know as we use therapeutic interventions when we can avoid medication and achieve better health results, so as to minimize secondary issues like side effects, dependence stress/depression, and money management or insurance struggles.

One interpretation of this study might be that the group who did only therapy without medication to improve sleep developed greater personal confidence in their ability to cope, since they did not have an external aid that they might have fostered a sense of dependency on. Further research will help us better understand what these results can say about how medication impacts clients and their ability to cope.

Read the article in Reuters about the study Here

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