WESTCHESTER, Ill. - Despite the positive results that it brings in the treatment of insomnia, access to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been difficult given the limited awareness of CBT services amongst referrers such as primary care providers. In addition to the low capacity among services to provide CBT, there is a gender imbalance, and men tend to seek help less frequently for their insomnia than women. The development and implementation of a CBT workshop is an effective means for getting men to seek help for the sleep disorder, according to a research abstract that will be presented Wednesday at SLEEP 2007, the 21st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).
The study, authored by June Brown, PhD, of King's College in London, UK, was based on the decision to offer men-only workshops with day-long psychological treatment for insomnia. Men could refer themselves to the workshops, which were run in leisure centers.
The workshops attracted a large number of men during the six-month project, with 111 inquiries. Out of those who attended, just under 50 percent had never consulted their or primary care providers for their insomnia problems. Six weeks after attending the day-long workshop, men reported significant improvements in their sleep, as well as reductions in their depression.
"Compared to women, men are usually very reluctant to seek help for their insomnia," said Brown. "Even if they do consult, services are not always available. Although effective psychological treatments have been developed, primary care providers often are not aware of these treatments, and psychology services are very stretched. This study shows that CBT workshops are an effective way to get men to come forward and get the treatment they need for their insomnia."
Insomnia is a classification of sleep disorders in which a person has trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up too early. These disorders may also be defined by an overall poor quality of sleep. Insomnia is a common sleep disorder. About 30 percent of adults have insomnia. It is more common among elderly people and women. Some medical conditions cause insomnia, or it may be a side effect of a medication.
CBT is a psychotherapy based on modifying everyday thoughts and behaviors with the aim of positively influencing emotions.
Those who think they might have insomnia, or another sleep disorder, are encouraged to consult with their primary care physician, who will refer them to a sleep specialist.
For a listing of those specialists who are certified in CBT, please visit http://www.
The annual SLEEP meeting brings together an international body of 5,000 leading researchers and clinicians in the field of sleep medicine to present and discuss new findings and medical developments related to sleep and sleep disorders.
More than 1,000 research abstracts will be presented at the SLEEP meeting, a joint venture of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society. The four-day scientific meeting will bring to light new findings that enhance the understanding of the processes of sleep and aid the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders such as insomnia, narcolepsy and sleep apnea.