Insomnia: ‘Long-distance’ CBT as effective as in-person therapy

Thousands of people around the world experience insomnia, which affects their quality of life, health, and productivity. One effective way of managing insomnia is cognitive behavioral therapy, but many individuals may not have the time or money to visit a therapist’s office. So, what is the solution?

Studies have shown that at least 10–30% of the world’s population, if not more, deal with insomnia, a sleep disorder in which people frequently have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting good quality sleep.

Chronic insomnia can also increase a person’s sense of fatigue and their risk of experiencing poor mental health. People with insomnia also report having other health conditions more often than people who do not experience this sleep disturbance.

Full story at Medical News Today

Is there a link between GERD and fatigue?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, known as GERD, can cause fatigue in people who have difficulty sleeping due to symptoms. For example, a person may repeatedly wake in the night to cough or because of pain associated with heartburn.

Medications for GERD can also have side effects that cause insomnia.

Results of a study published in 2013 suggest that there is a significant link between stress levels and inflammation caused by GERD. Stress and depression can also lead to sleepless nights.

Full story at Medical News Today

Meditation for Anxiety, Depression?

Some 30 minutes of meditation daily may improve symptoms of anxiety and depression, a new Johns Hopkins analysis of previously published research suggests.

“A lot of people use meditation, but it’s not a practice considered part of mainstream medical therapy for anything,” says Madhav Goyal, M.D., M.P.H., an assistant professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and leader of a study published online Jan. 6 in JAMA Internal Medicine. “But in our study, meditation appeared to provide as much relief from some anxiety and depression symptoms as what other studies have found from antidepressants.” These patients did not typically have full-blown anxiety or depression.

The researchers evaluated the degree to which those symptoms changed in people who had a variety of medical conditions, such as insomnia or fibromyalgia, although only a minority had been diagnosed with a mental illness.

Goyal and his colleagues found that so-called “mindfulness meditation” — a form of Buddhist self-awareness designed to focus precise, nonjudgmental attention to the moment at hand — also showed promise in alleviating some pain symptoms as well as stress. The findings held even as the researchers controlled for the possibility of the placebo effect, in which subjects in a study feel better even if they receive no active treatment because they perceive they are getting help for what ails them.

Full story of meditation for anxiety and depression at Science Daily

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

Insomnia Linked to Mortality Risk

Insomnia, the most common sleep disorder, affects up to one-third of the population in the United States. In new findings, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) have found that some insomnia symptoms are associated with an increased risk of mortality in men. These findings are published online in Circulation and will appear in an upcoming print issue.

“Insomnia is a common health issue, particularly in older adults, but the link between this common sleep disorder and its impact on the risk of death has been unclear,” said Yanping Li, PhD, a research fellow in the Channing Division of Network Medicine at BWH and lead author of the paper. “Our research shows that among men who experience specific symptoms of insomnia, there is a modest increase risk in death from cardiovascular-related issues.”

Specifically, researchers report that difficulty falling sleep and non-restorative sleep were both associated with a higher risk of mortality, particularly mortality related to cardiovascular disease.

Researchers followed more than 23,000 men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study who self-reported insomnia symptoms for a period of six years. Beginning in 2004 through 2010, researchers documented 2025 deaths using information from government and family sources. After adjusting for lifestyle factors, age and other chronic conditions, researchers found that men who reported difficulty initiating sleep and non-restorative sleep had a 55 percent and 32 percent increased risk of CVD-related mortality over the six year follow up, respectively, when compared to men who did not report these insomnia-related symptoms.

Full story of insomnia and mortality at Science Daily

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

Putting Sleep Disorders to Bed: New Way to Improve Internal Clock Function

Overnight flights across the Atlantic, graveyard shifts, stress-induced insomnia are all prime culprits in keeping us from getting a good night’s sleep. Thanks to new research from McGill University and Concordia University, however, these common sleep disturbances may one day be put to bed.

The rotation of Earth generates day and night. It also confers daily rhythms to all living beings. In mammals, something known as a “circadian clock” in the brain drives daily rhythms in sleep and wakefulness, feeding and metabolism, and many other essential processes. But the inner workings of this brain clock are complex, and the molecular processes behind it have eluded scientists — until now.

In a new study published in Neuron, researchers have identified how a fundamental biological process called protein synthesis is controlled within the body’s circadian clock — the internal mechanism that controls one’s daily rhythms. Their findings may help shed light on future treatments for disorders triggered by circadian clock dysfunction, including jet lag, shift work disorders, and chronic conditions like depression and Parkinson’s disease.

“To understand and treat the causes and symptoms of circadian abnormalities, we have to take a closer look at the fundamental biological mechanisms that control our internal clocks,” says study co-author Dr. Shimon Amir, professor in Concordia University’s Department of Psychology.

Full story of improving the internal clock at Science Daily

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education