For many sleepless Americans and their doctors, the go-to treatment for insomnia has long been a prescription for sleeping pills. But America may now be waking up to a new era of treatment ushered in by a recent recommendation from the American College of Physicians (ACP) that favors behavioral therapy over meds as the first-line treatment for insomnia. This is welcome news.
As with many evidence-based treatments, the challenge becomes one of how to implement the recommendation in a way that ensures treatment is made available from well-equipped providers in the settings in which patients are most likely to be present. We hope that this important recommendation by the ACP will foster collaboration among primary care providers, nurses, behavioral sleep medicine specialists, and insurers to ensure that CBT-I becomes the go-to treatment for America's sleepless millions.
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that occurs in 30 million Americans, according to the Institute of Medicine. A person with insomnia has trouble falling or staying asleep. When sleepless nights persist for longer than a month, the problem is considered chronic. Often, people with chronic insomnia see the problem come and go, experiencing several days of good sleep followed by a stretch of poor sleep.
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