Behavioral interventions for insomnia: Theory and practice

Indian J Psychiatry. 2012 Oct;54(4):359-66. doi: 10.4103/0019-5545.104825.


Insomnia is a general clinical term that refers to a difficulty in initiating or maintaining sleep. Insomnia is widely prevalent in the general population, especially in the elderly and in those with medical and psychiatric disorders. Hypnotic drug treatments of insomnia are effective but are associated with potential disadvantages. This article presents an overview of behavioral interventions for insomnia. Behavioral interventions for insomnia include relaxation training, stimulus control therapy, sleep restriction therapy, sleep hygiene, paradoxical intention therapy, cognitive restructuring, and other approaches. These are briefly explained. Research indicates that behavioral interventions are efficacious, effective, and likely cost-effective treatments for insomnia that yield reliable, robust, and long-term benefits in adults of all ages. Detailed guidance is provided for the practical management of patients with insomnia.

Keywords: Behavioral interventions; cognitive behavior therapy; insomnia; sleep hygiene; sleep restriction; stimulus control.