Relaxation Techniques May Help Insomniacs Sleep
In the study, the students with insomnia who were given relaxation therapy received three sessions, in which they were taught techniques for relaxing 16 muscle groups over a 20-minute period. The students were asked to practice the technique at home twice a day, including at bedtime. All the participating students were asked to keep sleep diaries during the two-week study.
While the students who used the relaxation technique reported small to moderate improvements in sleep quality and duration, there was no corresponding improvement in their functioning during the day, even though they did say they felt less sleepy during their waking hours.
"It could be the length of treatment was too short," Means says. Other studies have shown increases in quality of sleep after five to eight weeks of relaxation practices. This study lasted only two weeks.
Means believes that insomniacs who continued to practice relaxation after the study ended could very well see greater improvements later on. "As they become more proficient with the technique, I suspect their daytime functioning ultimately will improve," she says.