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New guidelines to ease sleepless nights
Date:9/1/2010

sleep habits and the possibility of an underlying vulnerability in sleep regulating mechanisms are all likely causes, as are other co-morbid disorders such as anxiety and depression, and diseases including cancer or arthritis. The recommendations address issues such as pregnancy, menopause, ageing, childhood disorders and other specific factors with suggestions for treatment, and an indication of the degree of agreement among experts in each case.

The good news is that insomnia can often be improved with specialist cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) targeted at insomnia, which is as effective as prescription medications for short-term treatments for chronic insomnia. In addition, CBT is more likely to have a longer-lasting effect than drug treatment. However access to this type of treatment for insomnia sufferers is not always easy to access in the UK.

Women have a higher incidence of insomnia than men, and the older we get the more likely we are to suffer from poor sleep. Around a third of adults in Western countries will experience some difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep at least once a week, and between six and 15 percent are thought to have full-blown insomnia.

Circadian rhythm disorders occur when our internal clocks don't match our daily lives. Caused most often by shift work and jet lag, some people also routinely have difficulty going to bed before two or three AM and waking up in the morning on time (delayed sleep phase syndrome). Others get cumulatively later as time goes, a condition known as free running sleep disorder.

Night terrors, sleep walking and violent behaviour at night are known as 'parasomnias.' Physicians may need to refer patients experiencing these distressing episodes to a specialist sleep centre for polysomnography and video recording for a correct diagnosis, and to discover whether the attacks occur during REM (rapid eye movement) or non-REM sleep, which can mean differing treatments.


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Contact: Jayne Fairley
jayne.fairley@sagepub.co.uk
44-207-324-8719
SAGE Publications UK
Source:Eurekalert

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