Insomnia does not go away by itself, study shows

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In a new study, researchers found that people with insomnia should not wait it out. It’s getting help so insomnia doesn’t persist.

Among more than 3,000 adults followed for five years, the researchers found that 37.5% of those who started the study with insomnia still had it five years later.

The persistence of that insomnia was higher in those who had worse insomnia at the beginning.

They also found that nearly 14% of participants who had no insomnia to start developed insomnia by their five-year follow-up.

The research was conducted by a team at Laval University in Quebec City.

Insomnia can include trouble falling asleep or staying asleep during the night, or waking up too early in the morning.

When insomnia persists all the time, it may be linked to a number of negative health outcomes,  including depression, anxiety, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and even suicide.

In the study, the team categorized insomnia syndrome as those who had trouble sleeping at least three nights a week.

A less severe category included those who took sleep medications at least once a week, but not more than three times a week or those who reported being dissatisfied with sleep without all the typical insomnia symptoms.

The researchers found cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be an effective first-line treatment for insomnia.

CBT is a form of psychotherapy that can focus on changing poor sleep habits, sleep schedule, and the way people with insomnia think about sleep.

This form of counseling really teaches people to change some of their behaviors and their thinking patterns.

With CBT, most people come in for four to eight sessions with a trained specialist. About 70% of people experience significant responses.

Unlike with medications, people tend to stay better after therapy ends.

Still unknown is whether treating chronic insomnia effectively will reduce those other health risks.

Also needed are resources to train more professionals to offer this treatment and more research on the best treatment for specific types of patients.

One author of the study is Charles Morin, a professor of psychology.

The study is published in JAMA Network Open.

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