TREATMENT: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia

2015 EST Status: StrongResearch Support (SEE REPORT)Very strong: High-quality evidence that treatment improves symptoms and functional outcomes at post-treatment and follow-up; little risk of harm; requires reasonable amount of resources; effective in non-research settings

Strong: Moderate- to high-quality evidence that treatment improves symptoms OR functional outcomes; not a high risk of harm; reasonable use of resources

Weak: Low or very low-quality evidence that treatment produces clinically meaningful effects on symptoms or functional outcomes; Gains from the treatment may not warrant resources involved

Insufficient Evidence: No meta-analytic study could be identified

Insufficient Evidence: Existing meta-analyses are not of sufficient quality

Treatment pending re-evaluation

1998 EST Status: Strong Research Support Strong: Support from two well-designed studies conducted by independent investigators.

Modest: Support from one well-designed study or several adequately designed studies.

Controversial: Conflicting results, or claims regarding mechanisms are unsupported.

Strength of Research Support

Empirical Review Status
2015 Criteria
(Tolin et al. Recommendation)
Very Strong
Insufficient Evidence
Treatment pending re-evaluation
1998 Criteria
(Chambless et al. EST)

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Brief Summary

  • Basic premise: The interaction between cognitive and behavioral factors is the key mechanism involved in the perpetuation of insomnia.
  • Essence of therapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia focuses on teaching techniques to modify sleep disruptive behaviors and cognitions that interfere with normal sleep and contribute to insomnia.
  • Length: approx. 6 sessions
For further information about the "strong" 2015 EST rating, read the systematic review that led to this decision here.

Treatment Resources

Editors:John Otis, PhD

Note: The resources provided below are intended to supplement not replace foundational training in mental health treatment and evidence-based practice

Treatment Manuals / Outlines

Treatment Manuals
Books Available for Purchase Through External Sites


Training Materials and Workshops

Measures, Handouts and Worksheets

Self-help Books

Important Note: The books listed above are based on empirically-supported in-person treatments. They have not necessarily been evaluated empirically either by themselves or in conjunction with in-person treatment. We list them as a resource for clinicians who assign them as an adjunct to conducting in-person treatment.

Smartphone Apps

Clinical Trials

Meta-analyses and Systematic Reviews

Other Treatment Resources