It’s been a while since I’ve added anything to this blog. Teaching, medical practice, and family have left little time to write. But I’m finding that I miss doing so. So my modest goal is to regularly share interesting health stories with brief introductions.
Insomnia continues to be common problem that is challenging to treat. Medications like Ambien are often not very effective. Moreover, people who take them may become dependent upon them and develop side effects. An approach called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is currently the recommended intervention for people suffering from insomnia. CBT trains people to use techniques that address mental factors that are associated with insomnia, such as a racing mind and worry about sleep. It also helps people establish habits, such as a regular night-time ritual, that are conducive to getting sound sleep.
The main limitation of CBT is that it takes time and money to see a therapist to provide it. And that is if you are able to find one of the limited number of therapists trained to apply CBT for people experiencing insomnia. That’s why it was good news that a recent study in the journal JAMA Psychiatry showed that an online program enabled people to resolve their insomnia through CBT without having to see a therapist.
300 participants were randomized for six weeks to either an online CBT program called SHUTi or to online patient education about improving sleep. After 1 year, 57% people who did the SHUTi CBT program no longer experienced insomnia. And more than seven out of 10 SHUTi participants showed improvement in their sleep.
The SHUTi program costs $135 to $156 according to the website here. http://www.myshuti.com
I plan to recommend the program to my patients experiencing insomnia and look forward to their feedback. The JAMA Psychiatry article and a commentary on it in the same issue are linked below.