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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 52 (2010) 2, 79 - 88

New research

Cognitive-behavioural therapy for primary insomnia: effectiveness in a clinical setting

L. Van Houdenhove, B. Buyse, L. Gabriëls, I. Van Diest, O. Van den Bergh

background The effectiveness of cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia (cbt-i) has been demonstrated in randomised controlled trials (rct's) with primary insomnia patients and, more recently, with comorbid insomnia patients. The clinical impact of the treatment is mainly on sleep quality and the use of medication and to a lesser extent on daytime functioning. So far there have been very few studies of the effectiveness of cbt-i in clinical settings.
aim To examine the effectiveness of cbt-i for primary insomnia via an uncontrolled prospective study in a clinical tertiary care setting.
method We included 76 patients with primary insomnia, most of whom having been referred by their gp or medical specialist to the Leuven University Centre of Sleep, who followed a 6-week course of cbt-i as a group. Effects of cbt-i on primary and secondary outcome measures were studied.
results cbt-i resulted in a significant improvement in all primary sleep variables such as sleep onset, sleep efficiency and sleep quality. The increase in total sleep time was less substantial, probably as a result of the specific sleep restriction guidelines. There was also a significant improvement on several secondary parameters, in particular dysfunctional cognitions, affective state, general health and use of medication.
conclusions cbt-i has a significant impact on sleep quality, medication use and daytime functioning in primary insomniacs in a clinical tertiary care setting.

keywords clinical setting, cognitive behavioural therapy, primary insomnia, sleep disorder, treatment