Insomnia Perplexes Sleep Experts
Chronic insomnia remains a mystery,concluded a panel of specialists convenedby the National Institutes ofHealth. The panel did find, however, thatchronic insomnia is a major health problem,and too many individuals are usingunproven therapies, even with treatmentsavailable that are effective. Thepanel's report, "Manifestations andManagement of Chronic Insomnia inAdults" found:
- Cognitive/behavioral therapy iseffective and does not have sideeffects
- New prescription sleep pills workwithout many of the side effectsassociated with older agents knownas benzodiazepines
- The most commonly used treatmentsare alcohol and OTC sedatingantihistamines; alcohol usuallydisrupts quality sleep, and antihistaminescan cause lasting daytimesedation and other cognitive problems
- There is no evidence supporting theeffectiveness of the dietary supplementsmelatonin and valerian tocombat insomnia
The panel recommended a broaderrange of research into insomnia, reportingthat, if researchers understood itsunderlying cause, they could developeffective treatments.