The new issue of *Canadian Psychology* includes an article: “Chronic
Insomnia: Recent Advances and Innovations in Treatment Developments and

The author is Charles M. Morin.

Here’s how the article begins:

[begin excerpt]

Sleep is a vital function, essential to psychological and physical well-

Not surprisingly, sleep disturbances, particularly insomnia, are very
common amongst individuals with psychological or medical problems.

Insomnia is amongst the most prevalent health complaints and the most
common of all sleep disorders in the general population.

Epidemiological estimates indicate that 30% of the adult population
reports insomnia symptoms at least occasionally, while 10% presents an
insomnia disorder (Morin, LeBlanc, Daley, Gregoire, & Merette, 2006;
Ohayon, 2002).

The University of Rochester Medical Center issued the following news release:

Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia significantly improved sleep
for patients with chronic neck or back pain and also reduced the extent
to which pain interfered with their daily functioning, according to a
study by University of Rochester Medical Center researchers.

The study, published online by the journal Sleep Medicine, demonstrates
that a behavioral intervention can help patients who already are taking
medications for pain and might be reluctant or unable to take additional
drugs to treat sleep disturbance.

“This therapy made a major difference to these patients,” said Carla R.
Jungquist, F.N.P., Ph.D., of the Medical Center’s Sleep and
Neurophysiology Research Laboratory, who is the lead author of the Sleep
Medicine article.


A nice summary on this, with links to articles for further reading


Like hunger and thirst, sleep is a basic biological drive we can’t ignore. In fact, when we don’t get enough of it, our bodies eventually force us to make up for the sleep lost. However, why we sleep remains a mystery-and one of the biggest unanswered questions in psychology.

But recently, results from sleep studies in humans and animals have begun to lead some promising explanations. Researchers are finding that sleep may help babies learn the placement of their own limbs (“To sleep, perchance to twitch”), it may help adults fix new memories in their brains (“Let’s sleep on it”), it may give the brain time to replenish energy stores (“Brain, heal thyself”) or it may allow it to recuperate from the learning it does during the day (“Wild findings on animal sleep”). Or-perhaps most likely-sleep may do some combination of all those things.

Indeed, although there’s no consensus yet, researchers are beginning to figure out what’s really going on during this deceptively passive third of our lives.

APA Monitor Volume 37, No. 1 January 2006

The journal *Archives of Internal Medicine* issued the following news release:

Insomnia often appears to be a persistent condition

About three-fourths of individuals with insomnia report experiencing the
condition for at least one year and almost half experience it for three
years, according to a report in the March 9 issue of Archives of
Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep. “Approximately
30 percent of adults report symptoms of insomnia and 6 percent to 10
percent meet diagnostic criteria for an insomnia disorder,” the authors
write as background information in the article. Several factors such as
being female, increasing age, having anxiety or depression and
experiencing pain from medical conditions have been associated with
insomnia. The condition has been linked to higher health care costs,
work absenteeism, disability and higher risk of hypertension and depression.

Charles M. Morin, Ph.D., of Universite Laval and Centre de recherche
Universite Laval–Robert Giffard, Quebec, Canada, and colleagues
evaluated insomnia persistence, remission and relapse in 388 adults
(average age 44.8) over a course of three years. Individuals with an
insomnia syndrome (insomnia symptoms at least three nights per week for
at least one month causing substantial distress or daytime impairment)
at the beginning of the study (n=119) were compared to those with
insomnia symptoms (n=269) to examine the course of initial severe sleep

“Of the study sample, 74 percent reported insomnia for at least one year
and 46 percent reported insomnia persisting over the entire three-year
study,” the authors write. The group with initial insomnia syndrome had
a higher persistence rate than the group with symptoms of insomnia (66.1
percent vs. 37.2 percent), respectively. About fifty-four percent of
participants went into insomnia remission; however, 26.7 percent of them
eventually experienced relapse. “Individuals with subsyndromal insomnia
[insomnia symptoms] at baseline were three times more likely to remit
than worsen to syndrome status, although persistence was the most
frequent course in that group as well,” the authors note.

Of the 269 individuals with baseline symptoms of insomnia, after one
year 38.4 percent were classified as good sleepers, 48.7 percent still
had insomnia symptoms and 12.9 percent had insomnia syndrome. Results
were similar after the second and third year of follow-up. Of the 119
participants with insomnia syndrome at the beginning of the study, 17
percent were good sleepers after one year, while 37 percent had symptoms
of insomnia and 46 percent remained in the insomnia syndrome group.

“This study provides preliminary evidence to better understand the
natural course of insomnia. Additional studies are needed, however, to
identify moderating and mediating factors of persistence, remission and
relapse,” the authors conclude. “Improved understanding of the long-term
course of persistent insomnia would be helpful to guide the development
of effective public health prevention and intervention programs to avert
long-term negative outcomes.”