Sleep training for adults prevents depression, study finds

A new clinical study has found that therapeutic sleep training can relieve symptoms of depression in older people.

The cognitive-behavioral form of sleep training, called CBT-I, helps teach adults how to break bad habits to prepare their minds and bodies for a good night’s sleep.

The peer-reviewed study, published last week in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, showed that adults who suffer from insomnia are less likely to develop depression. The study results are among the first to show evidence of treating insomnia with a behavioral strategy, not drugs.

According to the research described in the study, 30-50% of older people suffer from insomnia, which has become a major risk factor for depression and, consequently, suicide rates.

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“That’s why this study is so important,” study author Dr. Michael Irwin, professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at UCLA, told CNN. “We have shown that we can actually target insomnia with cognitive behavioral therapy and prevent depression from occurring.”

The study consisted of 291 adults over 60 without depression who were divided into two groups. Each week for two months, a control group received eight weeks of basic sleep education – teaching sleep hygiene, the characteristics of healthy sleep, sleep biology, and how to stress. can affect sleep. The other group was treated with Behavioral Sleep Training (CBT-1), administered in person in a group setting by trained therapists for eight weeks.

The study found that adults in the randomized clinical trial who received CBT-1 for their insomnia were half as likely to develop depression. If remission from insomnia was maintained for three years, there was an 83% reduction in the development of depression.

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CBT-I consists of five training elements: stimulus control, sleep restriction, sleep hygiene, relaxation, and cognitive behavioral therapy.

One of the main findings of the study was the benefit of individual therapy and group therapy, as treatments can work against negative and distorted thought patterns such as “I will never be able to sleep” or “I might. die if I don’t sleep tonight. “

Cognitive behavioral therapy “targets dysfunctional thoughts and beliefs about sleep,” Irwin said. “I really think a group is also very important, because hearing about other people’s difficulties and how they resolve them can often help educate you on something you might be facing. “

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