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Insomnia

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Amy Hopkins has had years of sleepless nights. "It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2-3 hours to fall asleep. I will just lie in bed and toss and turn and once I do fall asleep, I tend to wake up."

The mother of two has insomnia. She is taking part in a study at National Jewish Health in Denver that is testing which insomnia treatments are best. Some patients have talk therapy to break bad habits such as using electronics before bed or not sticking to a sleep schedule.

"If they had a poor night, they will actually sleep in in the morning and that keeps their biological clock off rhythm off," says Dr. Jack Edinger.

Some patients receive sleep medication. The study will enroll about 220 patients over the next two years. "We hope the study will contribute to some clinical guidelines that will help other providers learn how better to manage insomnia patients and what to do first and what to do second."

Amy tried behavior therapy first and then took sleep medication for six months. "The study helped me. I still have a lot of poor night's sleep, but I have had fewer poor nights of sleep."

She still takes Ambien once a week but hopes the skills she learned in therapy will eventually be enough to get a good night's rest.

Previous studies show that insomnia can play a role in high blood pressure and heart disease.

 

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