Effects of a structured problem-solving procedure on pre-sleep cognitive arousal in college students with insomnia

Behav Sleep Med. 2006;4(1):13-28. doi: 10.1207/s15402010bsm0401_2.


Pre-sleep cognitive arousal, more specifically worry, is often reported as a distressing symptom that interferes with sleep. Using a controlled group design, a "constructive worry" intervention, similar to Espie and Lindsay's (1987) "worry control" procedure, was tested for its effects on pre-sleep cognitive arousal in an undergraduate population reporting insomnia. After 2 baseline nights, participants (N = 33) either recorded possible solutions to worries (constructive worry group) or recorded worries and completed worry questionnaires (worry group) for 5 nights. As hypothesized, the constructive worry group had decreased pre-sleep cognitive arousal relative to the worry group and relative to baseline scores. This study provides further support for augmenting existing insomnia treatments with cognitive interventions to successfully treat the complaint of pre-sleep cognitive arousal.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Arousal*
  • Cognition*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Problem Solving*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / psychology*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / therapy
  • Students / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires