Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, otherwise known as CBT, is a type of psychotherapy.  According to a recent study reported in Reuters, it seemed to improve the quality of sleep in dialysis patients. CBT is a non-drug therapy and the investigators from the study said that it seemed to be quite effective with dialysis patients suffering from sleep problems. Dialysis is the procedure to remove toxins from the bloodstream when a person’s kidneys are failing to do it sufficiently for them.

According to the study chief, Dr. Hung-Yuan Chen from National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, told Reuters: Sleep disturbance in dialysis patients is a “puzzling and prevalent complaint.  However, only hypnotics are available for clinicians to solve this problem at present”.

CBT has proved effective in the past for insomnia in the elderly and also cancer patients and those with chronic pain. The study included 24 patients, with 14 randomised to have one hour per week in a psychiatrist-led CBT session. Almost 80 per cent in the CBT group had improved changes in sleep patterns, and also had a decline in a blood protein called interleukin-1-beta, which has been linked to inflammation.  The results after four weeks, although impressive, were not statistically significant according to the American Journal of Kidney Diseases.