Scientists reveal the simple trick to cure insomnia

Acute insomnia affects up to 50 per cent of us at any point in time, and it can be highly frustrating and upsetting. You just want to go to sleep but can’t!

It seems the solution is actually quite easy, and just requires a change in sleep behaviour.

New research from a Penn Medicine study presented at SLEEP 2016, the 30th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC, defined acute insomnia as difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, three or more nights per week, for between two weeks and three months.

The study found 70 to 80 per cent of people with acute insomnia could get rid of it by getting out of bed. Yep!

Researchers say electing to stay awake (rather than staying in bed trying to sleep when you can’t) is a productive strategy for an individual with acute insomnia. It is also formally deployed as part of cognitive behavioural therapy for chronic insomnia.

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News-Medical reports last month, the American College of Physicians recommended Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) as the treatment for chronic insomnia, without the side effects associated with sleep drugs.

In the study, 416 individuals were evaluated for how their time in bed affects their sleep. The results from these preliminary data analyses show that 20 percent of the population of good sleepers experience acute insomnia per year, 45 percent of these individuals recover, 48 percent have persistent but periodic insomnia, and 7 percent develop chronic insomnia.

“Those with insomnia typically extend their sleep opportunity,” says Michael Perlis, PhD, an associate professor in Psychiatry and director of the Penn Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program. “They go to bed early, get out of bed late, and they nap. While this seems a reasonable thing to do, and may well be in the short term, the problem in the longer term is it creates a mismatch between the individual’s current sleep ability and their current sleep opportunity; this fuels insomnia”.

Tell us, do you suffer from insomnia? How long for and what works for you?