Sleepless nights are the scourge of millions of Americans. According to Jack Edinger, Ph.D., of Duke University Medical Center, a third of the adult population have intermittent insomnia and 10 to 15 percent have chronic insomnia. Aside from the personal toll it takes on the mind and body, the National Sleep Foundation estimates that chronic sleep loss costs the country $18 billion in lost productivity every year. With so much resting on our circadian rhythms, it's a wonder we haven't learned how to get more sleep.
But Edinger is trying to change all that. He led a study, which appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, of 75 participants to determine whether or not cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) could aid the sleepless. Edinger divided the subjects into three groups, one group used behavior modification, one used relaxation techniques, and the last one was given a placebo. After six weeks, CBT had worked 54 percent of the time, relaxation 16 percent and placebo 12 percent.