Apr 1, 2013 - Research

What Works for Insomnia

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Some of the most popular treatments for Insomnia are not necessarily the most effective, according to a new study by CureTogether, a free resource owned by 23andMe that allows people to share information about their health and treatments.


People in the study said they found that some sleep drugs and some treatments without drugs – including a dark room and exercise – were the most effective. Conversely some popular treatments such as watching TV and listening to music, were among the least effective, according to the study. Insomnia affects millions of Americans. Finding treatments that work well can be a challenge, so CureTogether asked people suffering from insomnia to rate the effectiveness of different treatments.


Rated Most Effective by People with Insomnia
1. Xanax
2. No light/dark room
3. Ativan
4. Imovane
5. Valium
6. Ambien
7. Sexual activity
8. Exercise
9. Restoril
10. Klonopin

CureTogether’s study compiled responses from 7,422 people with Insomnia, who rated the effectiveness of 93 different treatments. Among the most helpful treatments were Xanax, Ativan, and Valium. Also highly effective for those in the study were sexual activity and eliminating caffeine. Those people in the study also said St. John’s wort and valerian – both derived from plants –  were not as effective.


Where did this data come from? This is the result of a four-year CureTogether study on Insomnia, in which people suffering from the condition shared information about their symptoms and what treatments worked best for them. We’d like to thank those who participated. And just as they shared their experience with Insomnia treatments, we’re freely and openly sharing the results of the Insomnia study.


This is part of a regular series of CureTogether research findings. CureTogether’s research findings are different than those made by 23andMe, which look at genetic associations with illness, traits and drug response. But as we continue our work with the CureTogether community, 23andMe hopes to incorporate more of this kind of self-reported information into our own research. CureTogether present its findings just as they are — patient-reported data — to stimulate discussion and generate new insights for further research.

Please tweet, blog, or pass this along to anyone who can benefit or is interested in Insomnia. Thank you!

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