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Nonpharmacologic group treatment of insomnia: a preliminary study with cancer survivors.

14 Aug
Nonpharmacologic group treatment of insomnia: a preliminary study with cancer survivors.
This month, Davidson, Waisberg, Brundage and MacLean of Queen''s University in Kingston, Ontario, report their prelimary findings of improved sleep in 12 middle-aged cancer patients (median age 54.7 yrs; average time from diagnosis 33.6 months), after participation in a 6-session cognitive behavioral program that taught relaxation training.

Participants kept sleep diaries and rated their sleep quality, mood and functioning at the start of the project, at 4 weeks and at 8 weeks. They were also scored on a standardized test (the European Org. for Research & Treatment of Cancer''s measures for role functioning and insomnia.)

Total sleep time and fatigue levels were significantly improved by week 8. In addition, significant improvement was noted in number of awakenings, the duration of wakefulness, sleep efficiency and sleep quality after week 4 and week 8.

This preliminary evidence supports use of CBT and relaxation therapy, either alone or as an adjunct to pharmacologic treatments, for a wider range of people with cancer who have trouble sleeping.

Citation: Davidson JR, Waisberg JL, Brundage MD & MacLean AW. Nonpharmacologic group treatment of insomnia: a preliminary study with cancer survivors. Psychooncology 2001 Sep-Oct;10(5):389-97.

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award