Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Can Treat Senior Insomnia

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Can Treat Senior Insomnia

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Can Treat Senior Insomnia

Contributed by Zawn Villines, GoodTherapy.org Correspondent

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may effectively treat insomnia in older adults, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Insomnia is common among older adults, whose health, lifestyle, and medications can make sleep more difficult. Statistics from the National Institutes of Health show almost half of adults older than 60 experience insomnia.

Despite stereotypes that suggest older adults need little sleep, the National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-8 hours of sleep for adults 65 and older. Younger adults need only slightly more sleep, at 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to Treat Insomnia

Cognitive behavioral therapy aims to alter people’s thoughts with the goal of changing their behavior. A person engaged in CBT can learn to detect automatic thoughts, question those thoughts, replace them with healthier and more realistic thoughts, and then use the changed thought patterns to change their behavior. CBT for insomnia trains participants in healthy sleep habits, helping them to identify and address problematic sleep patterns.

To test the effectiveness of CBT for insomnia, researchers divided 159 seniors into three groups. Participants ranged in age from 60 to 90. Most of the participants were male veterans.

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