There are a few other minor inaccuracies in the article: chronic insomnia requires only 3 months of sleep disturbances, not 6. And the case for the dangerousness of insomnia is dramatically overstated.
But with that said, the reality of insomnia treatment in most countries is that doctors either 1) don't know about CBT for insomnia or 2) don't have a way to refer people to see a behavioral sleep specialist. I practice in Seattle, and there are only 4 clinics that have behavioral sleep specialists. In more rural areas, it's even more uncommon.
So in truth, for most patients and most doctors, this does feel like a brand new therapy.
Thankfully, "sleep efficiency" training (aka sleep restriction) is a simple algorithm that doesn't really require hand holding, and works reasonably well when practiced through a book or online program. Motivation tends to be better when you meet with a therapist, but the recovery rates are similar for highly motivated people.
Disclosure: I provide in person CBT for insomnia and run a pay-what-you-can CBT for insomnia web app at SlumberCamp.co.
My thoughts exactly. I've tried all the things in the article (inluding CBT) and they are ineffective for me. This is acknowledged in the article ("we're all different") but the overall tone is that of a "miracle cure" when it's just patiently and steadily applying well-known ways to improve sleep. This is good, but it's not revolutionary.
The only part of it which resonates for me is that the majority of doctors and other medical professionals are truly, utterly crap when it comes to insomnia. They don't think it's important and they don't care that it's a living hell - "after a couple of nights without sleep, you'll sleep through anything", as one doctor glibly told me. But I've been 100 hours without sleep and that's nowhere near a record compared to other insomniacs.
Anyway, let's not get too distracted by a flashy headline and the overall tone of the article. The very fact that a group of medical professionals is taking sleep seriously is significant in itself. I hope it starts a trend.
This REALLY helps. Last ~8 months has been a paradise for me because my insomnia was so mild (I spent maybe a total of 2 or 3 completely sleepless nights and my previous average was 2 or 3 a week). The only difference is that I stopped giving a shit, if I'm sleepy and feel like shit, that's fine. It really does help.
But I consider myself lucky. I've mostly engineered my life such that I don't need to function before 10am (I think I'm genetically predisposed to a late sleep cycle, so far it looks like 2/3 of my kids may as well). I can afford to not use alarm clocks most of the time. And, it's possible my insomnia is nowhere near as bad as others'...
About 5 months ago I started doing a 3-day a week weight training program which includes full body compound movements (squats, deadlifts, etc.) and now I sleep like a baby through the whole night every night.
I know that may not work for many people but it worked wonders for me.
As an added benefit I've lost a bit of body fat, feel better mentally and physically, and have been able to reduce my blood pressure medication dosage by 2/3.
I'm particularly fond of this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFqEWrw6jyg
Of course, my wife still falls asleep within 10 minutes (I'm so jealous of her ability to just roll over and be out), versus my 45-60, but it's a vast improvement to not be lying awake for hours every night.
As always, the best solution is good old fashioned discipline.
Get up at the exact same time every single damn day. No matter how late you stayed up. When you wake up, and it's 7am or whenever your alarm goes, get up. Don't close your eyes again.
The rest is about pretty good diet and reasonably regular exercise.
And no, you don't need to give up coffee. Have it as strong as you like.
TLDR: CBT and observing a few physical parameters that affect your sleep (temperature, light, sound), as well as getting the right amount of sleep (not too much, not too little) will sort out most people. For me strictly banning all screens from the bedroom has helped too (I have an alarm clock with no backlight so I can't even check the time).
I did exactly this sort of thing years ago via Sleepio, which I highly recommend. It is a guided CBT course that completely sorted my chronic insomnia, using pretty much all the methods described in TFA. It will take you less time to sign up than to actually read said long-winded article.
As to why health is popular on HN, it's hard to be interested in the other stuff if you're dead! (I don't actually know why, I'm interested in these all personally, but nearly never upvote the articles myself)
To me, writing software is primarily a research activity. It always has been, no matter how proficient I think I am at a language. That's probably why HN articles appeal to me so strongly; it's what I do all day long.
I do enjoy explorative coding at night and often end up staying awake too long for getting enough sleep.
The description of sleep efficiency training starts at the picture labelled "A patient at the sleep clinic". That section appears to contain highly actionable advice.
Same deal with most popular science on TV - who has the time or energy to sit through an hour of tortuously drawn-out explanations interspersed with tangentially relevant video sequences, just to harvest the at most 5 mins of actually interesting fact?
I remember writing essays in school padded with a lot of babble, just because there was a word limit. As an adult, anyone who writes like this is just wasting my time. It's low information density.
excerpt from wikipedia
> Typically this will be between 1,000 and 20,000 words. Long-form articles often take the form of creative nonfiction or narrative journalism.
Succinct or GTFO. ;)
You open the article because you want to know about the cure. But the article is about insomnia.
So you start skimming the article until you give up.
If the title created an expectation to learn more about insomnia you might have read the whole article.
I scrolled to see how long the article was, gave up and thought "the HN comments will have what it is about". Then thought bad about not reading the Featured Article, mentally shrugged, then clicked to the comments.
It's not really about attention spans in my opinion, I simply don't have time to read all the hyperbole on the internet.
I think there does exist an audience for this writing style though, so I'm not against those articles existing, it's good to have diverse styles, at least there is actual work put into writing this (it's not a "14 ways to improve sleep, number 8 will surprise you" page by page slideshow)
Seems like a very sneaky way of putting language like that in readers' minds.