Older Adults are looking to Sleep Coaches for Insomnia

Typically, older adults have issues getting assistance from cognitive behavioral therapists for insomnia, so researchers created a new CBTI program for “sleep coaches” to do just that.

Today, insomnia is the most common sleep problems for adults in the United States, and it has been connected to serious health problems like depression, stroke, and memory problems. CBTI, or cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, is a proven method that is highly effective, but received by few due to the lack of CBTI trained counselors.

But, a new paper published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society reported that researchers found that briefly trained “sleep coaches” could provide effective cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia.

In the study, a team used “sleep coaches” who were not professionally licensed counselors or therapists, to administer cognitive behavioral therapy sessions on a weekly basis to older individuals with insomnia. Each coach had a supervisor that they would connect with by phone.

The study involved 159 participants, who were split up into three groups. The participants were mostly older white males between the ages of 60 and 90 years-old. The first test group was given one-on-one meetings with specially trained coaches, while the second test group was given treatment in a group therapy environment. People in the third group were given a general sleep education program over the course of 6 weeks instead of cognitive behavioral therapy from a sleep coach.

After the study was concluded, behavioral therapists found that the first two test groups outperformed the third when it came to improving the quality of their sleep. The participants in the first two groups all reported overall improvement to the quality of their sleep, while falling asleep 23 minutes faster, and spent 18mintures less awake once they had fallen asleep.

Now, cognitive behavioral therapists are asking for more studies to be conducted on this under researched topic. Since this study featured mostly white males, they would like to conduct another study featuring women, and people from other cultural backgrounds.

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