A study from Northumbria University revealed that a 1-hour cognitive behavioral therapy session helped cure a majority of patients with acute insomnia.
The participants were separated into two groups, each featuring nine males and eleven females. All used sleep diaries to record the quality and duration of their sleep for seven days before treatment and completed the Insomnia Severity Index which measures the nature, severity and impact of insomnia. One group received treatment of a one-hour one-to-one cognitive behavioral therapy session delivered by Professor Ellis and a self-help pamphlet to read at home. The control group received no additional support.
After treatment there was a significant difference between the group that had received cognitive behavioral therapy and the control group. Within one month of the therapy session, 60% of participants reported improvements in their sleep quality. Within three months, this had increased to 73%.
Meanwhile just 15% of those in the control group, who had not received the therapy, reported improved sleep. On seeing the results, 70% of those in the control group requested that they also be given the same treatment.
The therapy session covered sleep education and individual differences in ‘sleep need’ at different times of life. Professor Ellis then introduced the principle of sleep restriction, which encourages the individual to spend only the time in bed required for sleep. Using their recorded sleep diaries, the individuals were then prescribed a time to go to bed and a time to rise to improve their sleep efficiency.