Beat insomnia with talk therapy

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People who need help nodding off may want to see a shrink before popping a sleeping pill.

Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston examined 63 chronic insomniacs who received either five 30-minute cognitive-behavioral therapy sessions, a daily dose of sleep medication, or a combination of the two treatments. After 6 weeks, 57% of those who got therapy fell asleep within the normal window of 30 minutes, compared with 46% of those who received both remedies and just 15% of the medication takers.

In the sessions, therapists explained how to recognize and alter behaviors that made sleeplessness worse, such as worrying about being tired the next day. Patients were taught to unwind through deep breathing and muscle relaxation. For more, go to www.prevention.com/links.

PHOTO (COLOR): Talk yourself to sleep

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By Sarí N. Harrar

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