The disruptive impact of sleep disorders can be eased by cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) undertaken by the patient over a significant period of time.
This is the view of scientists at the Universite Laval in Quebec in Canada, who found that supplementing a six-week dose of the anti-insomnia drug zolpidem with a course of CBT therapy was particularly useful.
In a pilot trial of the medication involving 160 patients, those who received CBT on its own or alongside the drug had improved sleep.
Dr Charles Morin from the research team commented: "Persistent insomnia is associated with significant impairments of daytime functioning, reduced quality of life, and when persistent insomnia is not treated, it heightens the risks for major depression and hypertension."
He encouraged further studies to explore the potential benefits of CBT the experiment highlighted.
CBT works by encouraging patients to assess their perception of events and their response to situations.