Cognitive-behavioral therapy for chronic insomnia.

Research paper by Heather K HK Hood, Jenny J Rogojanski, Taryn G TG Moss

Indexed on: 23 Oct '14Published on: 23 Oct '14Published in: Current Treatment Options in Neurology


Psychological and behavioral therapies should be considered the first line treatment for chronic insomnia. Although cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) is considered the standard of care [1], several monotherapies, including sleep restriction therapy, stimulus control therapy, and relaxation training are also recommended in the treatment of chronic insomnia [2]. CBT-I is a multimodal intervention comprised of a combination of behavioral (eg, sleep restriction, stimulus control) and cognitive therapy strategies, and psychoeducation delivered in 4 to 10 weekly or biweekly sessions [3]. Given that insomnia is thought to be maintained by an interaction between unhelpful sleep-related beliefs and behaviors, the goal of CBT-I is to modify the maladaptive cognitions (eg, worry about the consequences of poor sleep), behaviors (eg, extended time in bed), and arousal (ie, physiological and mental hyperarousal) perpetuating the insomnia. CBT-I is efficacious when implemented alone or in combination with a pharmacologic agent. However, because of the potential for relapse upon discontinuation, CBT-I should be extended throughout drug tapering [4]. Although the treatment options should be guided by the available evidence supporting both psychological therapies and short-term hypnotic treatment, as well as treatment feasibility and availability, treatment selection should ultimately be guided by patient preference [5]. Despite its widespread use among treatment providers [6], the use of sleep hygiene education as a primary intervention for insomnia should be avoided. Sleep hygiene may be a necessary, but insufficient condition for promoting good sleep and should be considered an adjunct to another empirically supported treatment.