A recent study set out to determine which insomnia treatment was more effective for cancer survivors: mindfulness-based stress reduction (a combination of yoga and mindful meditation) or cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia.
The study involved 111 Canadian adults with nonmetastatic cancer who were at least 1 month away from finishing their cancer treatment. Each behavioral therapy (MBSR and CBT-i) lasted for 8 weeks.
At the end of the therapy, researchers found that MBSR was less effective than CBT-i, but after 3 months it was just as effective.
At this 3 month follow-up, it was found that those who took the MBSR therapy were falling asleep 14 minutes faster than before and those who took the CBT-i therapy were falling asleep 22 minutes faster than before.
Total sleep time increased by almost 45 minutes for the MBSR group and around 36 minutes for the CBT-i group. Sleep efficiency improved by around 8% for the MBSR group and 12% for the CBT-i group.
In both groups, stress levels decreased and there were measurable mood improvements.
To conclude, cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia worked faster, but at 3 months the mindfulness-based stress reduction therapy offered comparable results.
This difference is probably down to the fact that MBSR techniques can take slightly longer to learn and practice effectively.
I talk more about both MBSR and CBT-i in my free sleep training course for insomnia.
Source: The Oncology Report
Last updated: October 15, 2014