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Using cognitive therapy to battle insomnia

This is Science Today. When sleep is interrupted on an on-going basis, a person is more prone to depression or anxiety. Alison Harvey, director of the Sleep and Psychological Disorders Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, says she's looking into ways to help people break the cycle of insomnia without medication, but rather using cognitive behavior therapy.

Harvey:          Cognitive therapy is now being applied in the context of sleep problems and this is our particular kind of therapy that really helps to manage worry and rumination. So, that's one of the problems that people have as they're trying to sleep - they can't switch off a racing mind...worries and ruminations, they can't down regulate from the day emotionally.

Narrator:        Strategies used to deal with sleep problems range from the very simple, such as keeping a journal - to more complicated experiments to get to the root of the problem.

Harvey:          We'll treat them pretty much with similar strategies, although slightly emphasizing different parts of it for different people with different problems.

Narrator:        For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.