Study objectives: In most standardized approaches to cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, it is commonly the case that total wake time is reduced substantially during sleep restriction, but self-reported total sleep time (TST) is minimally affected. By follow-up, however, TST increases by almost 1 hour on average. A secondary analysis was undertaken to assess what percentage of participants meet or appreciably exceed baseline TST after cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia.
Methods: Data were drawn from a randomized controlled trial assessing acute and maintenance therapies for chronic insomnia (n = 80). The present analyses assessed the percentage of participants that 1) reached (≥ 0 minute increase) and 2) appreciably exceeded (≥ 30 minutes increase) baseline TST as assessed via daily sleep diaries at posttreatment and 3, 6, 12, and 24 months following treatment.
Results: By the end of acute treatment, 45% of participants reached or exceeded baseline TST. By 24 months follow-up, this percentage had increased to 86%. Only 17% of participants achieved a 30-minute increase in TST by the end of acute treatment, and this proportion only increased to 58% over time.
Conclusions: These findings suggest that cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia in its current form does not appreciably increase self-reported TST in a significant proportion of patients with insomnia. Whether participants would benefit from further increases in TST warrants investigation. The further titration of sleep opportunity may be useful to accelerate increases in TST, to extend the effect to a larger subset of patients, and/or to increase the magnitude of the TST gain.
Citation: Scott H, Cheung JMY, Muench A, et al. Does total sleep time substantially increase after cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia? J Clin Sleep Med. 2022;18(7):1823-1829.
Keywords: cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia; insomnia; sleep opportunity; sleep restriction; total sleep time.
© 2022 American Academy of Sleep Medicine.