Health Discoveries in General Health News

Counseling sessions may reduce insomnia in seniors

January 25, 2011
Older adults who suffer from insomnia may benefit from individualized counseling sessions to resolve their inability to sleep, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found.

Their study included 79 insomnia patients who were an average age of 72. Half the group were placed in four individual sessions of behavioral counseling, with two in person and two by telephone. The other half of the participants received printed educational material to teach them about insomnia and sleep habits.

The group that received counseling either showed an improvement in sleeping (67 percent compared to 25 percent in the other group) or no longer experienced insomnia (55 percent compared to 13 percent).

The study was published recently online and is planned for the May 23 print issue of the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.

The researchers said the behavioral program, which was conducted by a nurse clinician, may have a benefit over other treatments because it requires only short-term training for nurses.

The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research has a clinical trial under way focusing on ways to treat "obstructive" sleep apnea, a complex sleep disorder in which a blockage occurs in the airway during sleep. The institute is the research facility of the North Shore-LIJ Health System.
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