CBT could be first-line for insomnia
Cognitive behavioural therapy offered by trained practice nurses could become first-line treatment for insomnia, a new study suggests.
Researchers from the University of Glasgow's sleep research laboratory found CBT delivered in small groups by nurses in general practice improved sleep in patients with persistent insomnia.
GP experts said any alternative to 'doling out temazepam' to insomniac patients would be a valuable step forward.
The randomised controlled trial of 201 patients found those offered CBT fell asleep quicker and woke less often than those on usual treatment, with some improvement still seen six months later. CBT was also associated with significant positive changes in mental health and vitality.
Study leader Professor Colin Espie, director of Glasgow's sleep research laboratory, said nurse-led CBT for insomnia was cost-effective and meant 'scarce' clinical psychologists could concentrate on more complex cases.And Professor Espie added: 'CBT could become the treatment of first choice for persistent insomnia in primary healthcare.'
Dr Andrew Hershon, a GP in Hyde, Greater Manchester, with a special interest in mental health, said: 'Anything that could help with patients' sleep other than doling out temazepam would be a great help.'
But he warned: 'CBT consumes time and resources. If nurses are doing that, it could take resources away from other areas.'