Newswise — SEATTLE – (March 2, 2018) – People who suffer from insomnia could be cured of the dangerous sleep disorder by following a six-week, drug-free regimen recommended by a sleep physician at Virginia Mason Medical Center.

“Helping someone who has seemingly lost the natural ability to sleep is one of the most satisfying things I do in my profession,” said Brandon R. Peters, MD, a board-certified neurologist, a leading voice in sleep medicine and author of the new book, “Insomnia Solved.”

He recommends cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTI) as the first-line treatment. This type of treatment empowers people to manage stress and develop healthy behaviors without prescription medications. Sleeping pills are largely ineffective and have been linked to falls, dementia and deaths, he explains.

Based on the latest advances in sleep research and Dr. Peters’ clinical experience, his guide lays out a step-by-step treatment program proven to cure insomnia. The core features include:

  • Education on normal sleep and identification of triggers of insomnia
  • Overview of sleeping pills, potential side effects and reduction of their use
  • Development of healthy and effective sleep behaviors
  • Skills to calm the mind and manage stress
  • Individualized sleep-wake schedule program
  • Elimination of thoughts, behaviors and feelings that compromise sleep
  • Coping strategies to preserve daytime function

 “I see how CBTI transforms lives,” he said of this science-based, goal-directed intervention. “Even patients with decades of insomnia, and who are on five different sleeping pills, can discover normal sleep without medications in a few short months.”

Insomnia is defined as difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, waking too early in the morning, or experiencing sleep that is not good quality. A third of men and women in the United States report they usually get less than the recommended amount of sleep, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A prolonged lack of enough sleep has been linked with many chronic conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity and depression.

“Poor sleep is killing us,” said Dr. Peters. “Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder, affecting one in 10 Americans and costing the economy more than $100 billion annually. It’s important that people recognize insomnia as a problem that can be solved without drugs.”

Dr. Peters was trained to conduct CBTI at Stanford University, where he continues to serve as a clinical faculty affiliate. Over the past several years, he has helped hundreds of people with insomnia resolve their condition. He treats patients at the Virginia Mason Sleep Disorders Center in Seattle, where he also leads a group CBTI workshop.

His book, “Insomnia Solved,” is scheduled for release through Amazon and Kindle on March 11, the start of Sleep Awareness Week.