CBT Effective for Chronic Insomnia


Am Fam Physician. 2016 Jan 1;93(1):60.

Clinical Question

How effective is cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for patients with chronic insomnia?

Bottom Line

A five-component approach to changing patients' beliefs and behaviors surrounding sleep is effective, at least in the short term, in getting persons to fall asleep and stay asleep, although total sleep time is not increased. The interventions are not difficult, and many are part of typical sleep hygiene practice. (Level of Evidence = 1a –)


Although medication is the primary treatment of chronic insomnia, CBT has been extensively studied as well. To determine its effectiveness, these researchers searched five databases, including the Cochrane Library, and identified 20 studies of 1,162 patients. The CBT used in these studies

POEMs (patient-oriented evidence that matters) are provided by EssentialEvidence Plus, a point-of-care clinical decision support system published by Wiley-Blackwell. For more information, please see http://www.essentialevidenceplus.com. Copyright Wiley-Blackwell. Used with permission.

For definitions of levels of evidence used in POEMs, see http://www.essentialevidenceplus.com/product/ebm_loe.cfm?show=oxford.

To subscribe to a free podcast of these and other POEMs that appear in AFP,search in iTunes for “POEM of the Week” or go to http://goo.gl/3niWXb.

This series is coordinated by Sumi Sexton, MD, Associate Deputy Editor.

A collection of POEMs published in AFP is available at http://www.aafp.org/afp/poems.


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Jan 15, 2017

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