Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Online CBT for Insomnia: Using the Internet to Get Some “SHUTi”

Research continues to show that online cognitive behavioral therapy may be an effective treatment for adults with ongoing insomnia.

new study involved 44 people with an average age of 45 years. They had struggled with insomnia for an average of more than 10 years; most of the participants were women.

Half of the group was put on a wait list as a control; the other half completed a nine-week, online CBT program called “Sleep Healthy Using the Internet” – or

Results show that insomnia severity improved significantly for the Internet group; there was only a slight improvement for the control group. Members of the treatment group spent less time awake during the night. Their sleep also was more efficient; a higher percentage of their total time in bed was spent sleeping.

The online treatment also had a long-lasting effect; members of the Internet group were still sleeping better at a six-month follow-up.

SHUTi was
developed at the University of Virginia Health System. The lead author of the new study was SHUTi creator Lee Ritterband, PhD. He also is the co-founder of the International Society for Research on Internet Interventions.

The AP
reports that SHUTi is highly interactive; it uses stories, quizzes and games to teach healthy sleep habits. It also gives personalized advice based on a completed sleep diary.

The content is divided into core units that focus on specific methods for improving sleep. These include sleep restriction, stimulus control,
sleep hygiene, cognitive restructuring and relapse prevention.

These methods are based on traditional, face-to-face CBT. The AASM
recommends CBT as an effective treatment for chronic insomnia in adults.

In June the Sleep Education Blog
reported on a study of another online CBT program. The five-week program helped most people in the treatment group; 81 percent reported at least mild improvement in their sleep.

Contact an AASM-accredited sleep center near you for help with insomnia.

1 comment:

mark said...

I think it's funny when sleep labs have T.V.'s in their rooms. I realize that they are trying to make it more comfortable for the patient but i find it contradictory to good sleeping habits. Unfortunately just like anything else sleep is a competitive market so you have to do what the patient wants rather than what's right or you'll just loose the patient. It is such a small example but those add up and carry over into serious problems if you ask me. For more opinons advice and education visit this site http://1800CPAP.COM

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