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Don't Sleep Well? Modifying Your Thoughts and Behavior Can Be More Effective Than Taking Sleeping Pills

A study published in this month's Journal of the American Medical Association indicates that psychotherapy sessions can be more effective for treating insomnia than a sleeping drug called zopiclone, sold under the commercial name, Imovane.

Zopiclone is classified as a central nervous system depressant, and is known to produce the following side effects: confusion, unsteadiness, and poor physical coordination.

The psychotherapy sessions that proved to be more effective than zopiclone at treating insomnia were conducted once a week, 50 minutes per session. Each session included education on lifestyle factors that impact sleep, many of which can be found in Margaret's article on Nine Steps To Better Sleep.

Participants were also taught how to self administer progressive relaxation techniques to help them get to sleep.

Ultimately, the psychotherapy sessions focused on teaching participants how to use their thoughts and behavior (cognitive behavioral therapy, aka CBT) to facilitate regular, restful sleep.

Participants who received psychotherapy went from scoring 81.4 percent on a sleep efficiency scale to 90.1 percent after their sessions. Those who received zopiclone medication went from 82.3 percent to 81.9 percent.

Also, those who received psychotherapy spent more time in the deepest, most restful stages of sleep than those who received only zopiclone or sugar pills.

This study points to the important roles that our physical habits and emotions play with our sleeping patterns. Before resorting to sleeping pills to get more and better quality rest, please consider steps that you can take to promote peace of mind, emotional balance, and a healthy lifestyle, all of which can help you sleep better naturally.


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