Good news for bad sleepers

New research at Flinders University holds out the promise of drug-free relief from insomnia for older adults.

Researchers from the School of Psychology are seeking participants in a project to investigate a new treatment for insomnia sufferers over 55 years of age.

Professor Leon Lack, an internationally renowned sleep researcher, said that for many older adults, night-time sleep is often disturbed by frequent awakenings across the night and morning, with difficulty getting back to sleep.

“These sleep difficulties and sleep losses often have a negative impact during the day, such as feelings of fatigue and difficulty in concentrating, resulting in a reduced quality of life,” Professor Lack said.

‘The most common method of treatment for insomnia is with medication, but while this type of treatment can provide some short-term symptomatic help, it can lead to dependency and may even result in worse sleep after the treatment has stopped, he said.

“Non-drug treatments for insomnia obviously avoid these side-effects.”

The new research, funded by the National Medical Health and Research Council, focuses on a non-drug treatment that is expected to result in a higher quality of sleep as well as improved daytime functioning for participants. The treatment plan includes a complete sleep recording and four weekly therapy sessions.

People with sleep disturbances who are over 55 years of age and interested in participating in the research, are encouraged to contact: Ms Jane Cocks or Dr Helen Wright in the School of Psychology at Flinders on 08 8201 2377, or email sleep@flinders.edu.au

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