The assessment and management of insomnia in primary care

iStock_000007866113XSmall woman insomnia sleep

There’s a nice review in this week’s BMJ for primary care professionals who haven’t had much time this week to think about the mental health awareness week topic – sleep.

The authors provide a short summary of the key points:

  • Insomnia affects a third of people and is a common cause of consultation in primary care
  • History is the main diagnostic tool
  • There are many causes of secondary insomnia, which should be ruled out and treated first
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness should raise questions about obstructive sleep apnoea
  • Primary insomnia is diagnosed after excluding other causes of insomnia. It can be treated effectively by sleep hygiene techniques, by restricting time in bed, or with behavioural interventions
  • Sedatives should be used as a last resort when other approaches have failed because of risks of tolerance and adverse effects

The assessment and management of insomnia in primary care. BMJ 2011, 342. [Abstract]

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Andre Tomlin

André Tomlin is an Information Scientist with 20 years experience working in evidence-based healthcare. He's worked in the NHS, for Oxford University and since 2002 as Managing Director of Minervation Ltd, a consultancy company who do clever digital stuff for charities, universities and the public sector. Most recently André has been the driving force behind the Mental Elf and the National Elf Service; an innovative digital platform that helps professionals keep up to date with simple, clear and engaging summaries of evidence-based research. André is a Trustee at the Centre for Mental Health and an Honorary Research Fellow at University College London Division of Psychiatry. He lives in Bristol, surrounded by dogs, elflings and lots of woodland!

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