04. tbl. 101. árg. 2015


Effectiveness of an online cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia

Árangur hugrænnar atferlismeðferðar við svefnleysi sem veitt er á netinu

Introduction: Insomnia is a common health problem with serious mental and physical consequences as well as increased economical costs. The use of hypnotics in Iceland is immense in spite of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) being recommended as the first choice treatment of chronic insomnia. To meet the needs of more individuals suffering from insomnia, online CBT-I was established at betrisvefn.is. The objective of this research was to evaluate the effectiveness of this internet-based CBT-I.

Material and methods: One hundred seventy-five users (mean age 46y (18-79y)) started a 6 week online intervention for insomnia. The drop-out rate was 29%, leaving a final sample of 125 users. The intervention is based on well-established face-to-face CBT-I. Sleep diaries were used to determine changes in sleep efficiency, sleep onset latency and wake after sleep onset. Treatment effects were assesed after 6 weeks of treatment and at the 6 week follow-up.

Results: Significant improvement was found in all main sleep variables except for 5% decrease in total sleep time (TST). Effects were sustained at 6 week follow-up and TST increased. The use of hypnotics decreased significantly. This form of treatment seems to suit its users very well and over 94% would recommend the treatment.

Conclusion: Internet interventions for insomnia seem to have good potential. CBT-I will hopefully be offered as the first line treatment for chronic insomnia in Iceland instead of hypnotics as the availability of the CBT-I is growing. Thus, the burden on health care clinics might reduce along with the hypnotics use and the considerable costs of insomnia.

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