Published On: Wed, Jul 31st, 2019

Chronic insomnia sufferers may benefit from cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), suggests new study, which found it is an effective treatment that doesn’t involve medication. Chronic insomnia (trouble falling or staying asleep, at least 3 nights/week, for 3 months or more), affects 10-15% of adults. : Health

The post title is a copy and paste from the title, third and fourth paragraphs of the linked popular press article here:

Insomnia sufferers can benefit from therapy, new study shows

There is a very effective treatment that doesn’t involve medication that should be available through your primary care service.

Chronic insomnia, in which individuals have difficulties dropping off or staying asleep at least three nights a week for three months or more, is thought to affect about 10-15% of adults.

Journal Reference:

Cognitive behavioural treatment for insomnia in primary care: a systematic review of sleep outcomes

Judith R Davidson, Ciara Dickson, Han Han

British Journal of General Practice 29 July 2019; bjgp19X705065.


DOI: 10.3399/bjgp19X705065


Background Practice guidelines recommend that chronic insomnia be treated first with cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), and that hypnotic medication be considered only when CBT-I is unsuccessful. Although there is evidence of CBT-I’s efficacy in research studies, systematic reviews of its effects in primary care are lacking.

Aim To review the effects on sleep outcomes of CBT-I delivered in primary care.

Design and setting Systematic review of articles published worldwide.

Method Medline, PsycINFO, EMBASE, and CINAHL were searched for articles published from January 1987 until August 2018 that reported sleep results and on the use of CBT-I in general primary care settings. Two researchers independently assessed and then reached agreement on the included studies and the extracted data. Cohen’s d was used to measure effects on sleep diary outcomes and the Insomnia Severity Index.

Results In total, 13 studies were included. Medium-to-large positive effects on self-reported sleep were found for CBT-I provided over 4–6 sessions. Improvements were generally well maintained for 3–12 months post-treatment. Studies of interventions in which the format or content veered substantially from conventional CBT-I were less conclusive. In only three studies was CBT-I delivered by a GP; usually, it was provided by nurses, psychologists, nurse practitioners, social workers, or counsellors. Six studies included advice on withdrawal from hypnotics.

Conclusion The findings support the effectiveness of multicomponent CBT-I in general primary care. Future studies should use standard sleep measures, examine daytime symptoms, and investigate the impact of hypnotic tapering interventions delivered in conjunction with CBT-I.