Treating young people who suffer from insomnia by using online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) could reduce debilitating mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, scientists said.
In a large trial published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal, researchers at Oxford University’s Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute also found that successfully treating sleep disruption eased psychotic symptoms such as hallucination and paranoia.
Close to 4,000 university students across Britain were randomised into two groups.
One had six sessions of online CBT; the other had access to standard treatments.
The researchers found that those who had the CBT sleep treatment reduced their insomnia significantly as well as showed small but sustained reductions in paranoia and hallucinatory experiences.
The CBT also led to improvements in depression, anxiety, nightmares, psychological well-being, and daytime work and home functioning.