New Insomnia Guidelines

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The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has issued updated guidelines for treatment of insomnia.  Chronic insomnia disorder is a serious condition and requires careful diagnosis and treatment.  It is often found together with mood disorders such as bipolar, major depression and anxiety, but has traditionally been treated as a less-important and temporary phenomenon.

The AASM recommends that chronic insomnia disorder be treated with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) in most or all occurrences.  CBT-I requires 4 to 8 sessions with a trained therapist before the technique can be fully learned and put into practice by the patient.  This is a “strong” recommendation of the AASM, meaning that “almost all patients should receive the recommended course of action.”

Three other therapies may be used on a conditional basis if they are found to be of use for particular individuals:  sleep restriction therapy (limiting time in bed); stimulus control therapy (using the bed only for sleep and sex); and relaxation techniques (such as progressive muscle relaxation).

A common form of therapy for insomnia is “sleep hygiene” which teaches the patient to control exercise, diet, room temperature, and other factors before sleep.  This practice does not have sufficient research evidence for its efficacy.  Sleep hygiene may be used as one component of a multi-component approach, but it is not recommended as a single-component treatment.

For more information, see the website of the AASM.