Consistently suffering from insomnia can make you more than just a little under the weather. Diabetes, hypertension, strokes, heart attacks, weight gain, poor brain health and even an earlier death have all been linked to a lack of sleep.
Researchers have long thought that increased inflammation in the body that overtime becomes chronic due to insomnia was the reason for so many health problems. But, they didn’t know if treating the sleep disorder would reduce inflammation, leading to better health or what exactly was the best way to treat it.
Now, thanks to incredible research done at UCLA, a new study is demonstrating reducing insomnia can also reduce inflammation, and that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the best way to solve those sleepless nights.
The three insomnia treatments that were up for comparison included:
-CBT: A form of therapy that helps people manage their stress, poor sleep habits, negative thought patterns and learn to practice great better sleep hygiene
-Tai chi chih (TCC): The more western version of the popular Chinese martial art, which focuses on mediation and slow movement.
-Sleep seminar education: Information provided on aging and sleep problems, including medical, physical and mental factors.
Published in the September issue of the journal Sleep, researchers used 123 adults who were over the age of 55 in their randomized clinical trial. The levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a known indicator of inflammation, were found to be reduced in each patient after treatment, as well as in a follow-up checkup 16 months later.
The results also showed that CBT was better at reducing insomnia among the patients with greater results in sleep improvements and sleep quality that lasted longer, compared to sleep seminar education and TCC. Insomnia reduction was nearly double with CBT than either of the other 2 treatments.
On your quest to live a better life, diet and exercise are important but, don’t forget sleep. Chronic inflammation can take years off of your life. See a licensed physician or sleep specialist to discuss improving your shut-eye and learn more about the benefits of CBT.