A recent study showed that insomnia cognitive behavioral therapy decreased sleep latency by 54%, compared with 16% with relaxation therapy and 12% with placebo treatment.
Cognitive therapy addresses dysfunctional beliefs; patients may have unrealistic expectations for sleep and misconceptions about causes, side effects and consequences of their insomnia.
Cognitive therapy is as effective as pharmacologic therapy in the elderly.
Many insomniacs develop anxiety about going to sleep and a fear of sleeplessness, which may perpetuate the insomnia. Others nap to compensate for poor nocturnal sleep, but this aggravates the insomnia.
Study on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Treatment of Chronic Primary Insomnia
Cognitive behavioral therapy produced larger improvements across the majority of outcome measures than did relaxation Training or placebo treatment.
For example, sleep logs showed that insomnia cognitive behavioral therapy treated patients achieved an average 54% reduction in their wake time after sleep onset whereas relaxation therapy-treated and placebo-treated patients, respectively, achieved only 16% and 12% reductions in this measure.
Recipients of cognitive behavioral therapy also showed a greater normalization of sleep and subjective symptoms than did the other groups with an average sleep time of more than 6 hours, middle wake time after sleep onset of 26.6 minutes, and sleep efficiency of 85.1%.
In contrast, relaxation therapy treated patients continued to report a middle wake time after sleep onset of 43.3 minutes and sleep efficiency of 78.8%.