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Scientists develop innovative therapy to fight adolescent insomnia

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Posted May 5, 2016

Sleep is very important. Yet many people struggle to go to sleep on time and then suffer from chronic lack of rest. It is especially true for adolescents, as lack of sleep negatively affects their academic performance, lead to problems like depression, anxiety and even symptoms of ADHD. Now a scientist from the University of Amsterdam created a ‘SlimSlapen’ therapy to treat sleep problems.

Not only lack of sleep negatively affects the health, but also makes it a lot harder to have a good academic performance. This is why the ‘SleepingSmart’ thrapy was developed. Image credit: chia ying Yang via Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Not only lack of sleep negatively affects the health, but also makes it a lot harder to have a good academic performance. This is why the ‘SleepingSmart’ thrapy was developed. Image credit: chia ying Yang via Flickr, CC BY 2.0

This therapy, name of which means ‘SleepingSmart’, is based on cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia. This new therapy is a short version of the sleeping programme and has preventative effect. It provides exercises to help young people to improve their sleeping habits.

So far trials showed that the programme is effective. In fact, 116 adolescents, all suffering from insomnia, participated in these trials and reported that it had a moderate to high impact on variables such as sleep efficiency and sleep onset latency. It was also revealed that the group therapy yielded slightly better results than the online therapy. SlimSlapen also helped combating the symptoms of psychopathology, including depression, anxiety problems and symptoms of ADHD.

Lead author of the study, Ed de Bruin, also found that while online ‘SlimSlapen’ sessions helped improving visual-spatial processing and phonological working memory, they did not have an effect on visual-spatial working memory.

However, he also noted that a lot of good night sleep depends on conditions person creates for himself before sleep. He said that “voiding light exposure (especially light from electronic devices) in the two hours before going to bed, having a regular bedtime, getting enough exercise during the day, only using your bed to sleep (and not, for example, to do homework in bed) and so on” help drastically improve the quality of sleep.

Good night sleep helps improving academic performance and can prevent a variety of health issues. This research shows that there are tools to improve the quality of sleep, such as the new therapy. But first of all the person has to be interested and develop a better sleeping routine in order to feel and perform better.

Source: uva.nl

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