Primary care for insomnia – past, present and future

Prof Niro Siriwardena was invited and presented a seminar on CaHRU’s work on management of insomnia in primary care at a recent seminar at King’s College London this Spring on 29 April 2020, hosted by the Department of Population Health Sciences. The seminar took place via Teams and consisted of the usual presentation format followed by a series of questions from the audience. The event was hosted by Dr Marina Soley-Bori, Research Fellow in Health Economics, and Dr Mark Ashworth, Reader in Primary Care, at King’s.

Niro described how his work on sleep began with investigating the problem of high sleeping tablet (hypnotic drug) use in primary care. This led to a series of small-scale studies exploring patients’ and practitioners’ use of hypnotics through cross-sectional surveys. This was followed by a major grant from the Health Foundation to explore solutions for primary care insomnia which led to work with general practice to implement psychological therapies for insomnia as part of the Resources for Effective Sleep Treatment project.

The research centre has continued work in this area including a systematic review and meta-analysis of z-drugs published in the BMJ and two qualitative reviews with metasyntheses of patients’ and practitioners’ perspectives on hypnotics. Over the past few years the team have been working on increasing access to psychological therapies for insomnia through the EPSRC funded ENACT study, ‘Exploring social Networks to Augment Cognitive behavioural Therapy’ and subsequent studies using Sleepio. Most recently, members of the team have been collaborating on one of the largest trials of psychological therapy for insomnia using primary care nurse-delivered sleep restriction in the HABIT trial of Health professional Administered Brief Insomnia Therapy.

Prof Niro Siriwardena

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