Everyone wants to get a full night of restful sleep, but that isn’t always easy for stroke survivors. Almost two-thirds of stroke patients suffer from poor sleep. Sleep problems are more than annoyances for stroke patients. They may increase the risk of another stroke.
The typical treatment of sleep problems includes the use of medication. However, if you don’t want to take sleeping pills, Strokemark has learned of a promising new treatment called cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia or CBTI. CBTI analyzes your day and night sleeping habits to help create a better sleeping program. This new plan may entail excluding caffeine from your diet, cutting out the daily nap, or reducing time in front of the TV before going to bed. It also includes counseling to help you train your mind to clear stressful thoughts.
This animation explains what insomnia is and how CBTI works for insomnia
Study supports CBTI for stroke survivors
Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia may not sound all that new, but the proof of its effectiveness is. A recent study by researchers in the United Kingdom offered that evidence. The researchers asked five stroke patients with sleep problems to participate in an 11-week study. All five participants reported sleep problems in the first two weeks. After 7-weeks of CBTI training, three participants no longer had insomnia, and all five had improved sleep.
CBTI can be challenging at first because it may require lifestyle changes that are difficult to make. For most people who complete the program, however, their sleep is usually significantly improved.
This is a very small study, so these results may not apply to everyone. Although cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia has been successful for many stroke patients, you can only know how it works for you if you try it.
Finding CBTI therapists in your area
Therapists with experience in cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia can be found in larger communities throughout the country. The typical cost for a CBTI session is around $200, but you may need more than the minimum three sessions. In most cases, if your doctor recommends it, your health insurance covers most of these costs. Improving your sleep through a CBTI program can potentially save money due to less insomnia-related drugs and doctor’s visits.
The Strokemark team is investigating new treatments for stroke-related health conditions. Please visit us again to learn the latest about insomnia therapies and other rehabilitation methods.
The lead author of this study is Katie Herron, Pain Management Centre, National Hospital For Neurology and Neurosurgery, London, UK.