12:48am Monday 14 October 2019

Counting sheep? Struggling to sleep?

Massey University’s Sleep/Wake Research Centre in Wellington is now providing group treatment for people with insomnia – a first in New Zealand.

Insomnia is a common problem, with about 30 per cent of Kiwis reporting they regularly have difficulty falling asleep and 25 per cent affected by long-term insomnia. Now Massey wants to hear from people suffering from sleeplessness who are interested in participating in the group sessions.

Research Officer Dr Lora Wu says while many of us occasionally have trouble getting to sleep, insomnia is when you have difficulty sleeping over a long period of time and it affects your health, relationships, and work.

“People who suffer from this sleep disorder either have trouble falling asleep, they wake up a lot during the night, or wake up too early and can’t get back to sleep. This can have a big effect on their alertness, mood, and performance.”

She says people who suffer from insomnia can feel frustrated and overwhelmed and the first steps should be discussing their concerns with a doctor.

The Sleep/Wake Research Centre’s treatment programme  – called cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia – provides a group therapy option for sufferers and has been used successfully in other parts of the world including Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, China, and the Netherlands.

Dr Wu says the treatment is non-pharmacological and has been shown to have long-lasting effects. “Participants will learn more about sleep, insomnia, and how to better manage their sleep. They will also have the opportunity to interact with a group of individuals who suffer from insomnia and to learn from each other.”

Massey offers courses to both undergraduates and postgraduates about sleep and circadian physiology. The Sleep/Wake Research Centre is world-renowned for its research and employs some of New Zealand’s most highly-respected practitioners and researchers.

Group sessions begin on February 4th (Thursday evenings) and March 2nd (Wednesday evenings) once a week for six weeks. The treatment costs $375.

Individuals affected by insomnia and wanting to take part in the programme can contact the Sleep/Wake Research Centre at goodsleep@massey.ac.nz or 04 380 0603.

Participants may also be invited to be a part of ongoing research at the Sleep/Wake Research Centre to better understand and improve the sleep health of New Zealanders.

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