Stress Management for the Treatment of Sleep Disorders in Lawyers: Pilot Experimental Study in Athens, Hellas
Objective: The products of the hypothalamic - pituitary - adrenal axis (HPA) and the autonomic nervous system as a result of stressful life events are closely related to the occurrence of chronic insomnia. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether a stress management intervention program can reduce the subjective reactions which are associated with stress and the symptoms of insomnia in a sample of 40 lawyers of Athens Bar Association.
Methods: This was a two-armed, parallel group, randomized controlled study with about a 1:1 allocation ratio of lawyers with primary insomnia to the intervention and the wait-list control group and afollow up period of 8-weeks. The stress management technique program, included progressive muscle relaxation (PMR), relaxation breathing technique, autogenic training, Guided Imagery and EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). Validated scales were used to measure variables (AIS, PSS 14, Dass-21, ΗLC, Rosenberg Self-esteem scale and Greek PSQI).
Results: A total of 40 people were selected to enter the study and were randomly allocated into two groups, intervention group and control group (21 and 19 respectively). Individuals in the intervention group experienced a statistical significant improvement in sleep parameters. There was a statistically significant reduction in depression (p=0.015) and stress levels (p=0.029) pre- and postintervention in the stress management group. Furthermore, we recorded amoderate amelioration in insomnia and sleep quality (effect sizes 0.3 and 0.32 respectively).
Conclusion: We provide evidence that stress management may merit some benefits at improving sleep, by means of both insomnia and quality of sleep improvement.