Using Bed Only For Sleep Or Sex Helps Elderly Insomniacs Get Better Rest: Study

Using Bed Only For Sleep Or Sex Helps Elderly Insomniacs Get Better Rest: Study – Brief Article

Older people with insomnia could sleep better by using their beds for sleep and sex only, according to ABC News medical editor Dr. Tim Johnson, who based his info on a recent study.

The study reported that older people with insomnia got more long-term sleep improvement from psychotherapy than from sleeping pills or from a combination of the two.

And part of the psychotherapy was to change their behavior and thoughts about sleep. One of the behavioral changes “was to insist that they use the bed only for sleep and sex. TV, reading, all other activities had to be in another room. If they couldn’t go to sleep, they had to go to another room,” Johnson explained.

“And they had to get up in the morning at the same time, no matter how much or little they slept. These kind of rules really pay off in the long run if you’re willing to stick with them for the short run,” Johnson reported.

They also were taught all the myths about sleep, and how alcohol, caffeine, diet and exercise affect sleep.

Researchers studied 78 adults, average age 65, whose chronic insomnia was not caused by any underlying physical problem. Charles M. Morin, a clinical psychologist at Laval University in Quebec, said similar research in younger adults has had the same outcome. Morin’s study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The subjects were divided into four groups: one received 90 minutes a week of group therapy; another received eight weeks of treatment with a prescription sleeping pill; a third got an eight-week combination of therapy and sleeping pills; the fourth received a dummy pill.

Initially, the combination treatment appeared to work best, reducing nighttime awakenings-the typical problem in older people. But after two years, “only behavioral treatment provided durable changes,” the researchers said.

COPYRIGHT 1999 Johnson Publishing Co.

COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group