Recent advances in the assessment and treatment of insomnia

J Consult Clin Psychol. 1992 Aug;60(4):586-94. doi: 10.1037//0022-006x.60.4.586.


Persistent insomnia has multiple potential causes such as medical, pharmacological, life-style, personality, and behavioral factors. Although many poor sleepers use hypnotic medications, a wide array of cognitive-behavioral interventions are available that target somatic and cognitive arousal, dysfunctional thoughts, and learned maladaptive sleep habits. Outcome research conducted over the past decade reveals that the single treatments of stimulus control and sleep restriction produced the best results, reducing self-reported target complaints by 50-60%. Approximately half of insomniacs show reliable change although only about one third become good sleepers. Multicomponent methods offer considerable promise but on the whole have not surpassed results achieved with the simpler stimulus control. Recommended new directions of pursuit include (a) examination of a broader range of insomnia sufferers, (b) use of multimodal assessment and more objective verification of self-reported benefits (c) research on treatments tailored to individual causal and maintaining factors, and (d) further scrutiny of newer interventions like sleep restriction and more comprehensive multifaceted strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / etiology
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / psychology
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / therapy*