Internet Could Help Battle Insomnia

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July 7, 2009

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If you spend as much time on your computer as we do, you know that the Internet can often be a cause of insomnia, not a cure. However, a recent study in the Archives of General Psychiatry found that people who participated in an online program to treat insomnia actually improved their sleep. Researchers from the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville and the Université Laval in Quebec, Canada, followed 44 individuals with a history of difficulty sleeping. Half of the group participated in an online Cognitive Behavioral Therapy program, while the other half was told they were being placed on a waiting list. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia, often called CBT-I, is an approved method for treating insomnia without the use of sleeping pills. CBT-I is aimed at changing sleep habits and scheduling factors, as well as misconceptions about sleep and insomnia, that perpetuate sleep difficulties. According to the study, participants who took part in the program experienced a decrease in the severity of their insomnia and were less likely to wake up in the middle of the night. The group that did not take part in the program did not experience any significant changes. Researchers concluded that Internet intervention programs could be effective in treating insomnia, but a larger study with more diverse participants would be necessary to draw wider conclusions.