Long-term effectiveness of a short-term cognitive-behavioral group treatment for primary insomnia.
The long-term effectiveness of a short-term cognitive-behavioral therapy was evaluated. The structured group treatment consisted of six weekly sessions and included progressive muscle relaxation, cognitive relaxation, modified stimulus control with bedtime restriction, thought stopping and cognitive restructuring. Twenty patients with chronic primary insomnia took part in the study. All patients were referred by physicians for diagnosis and therapy of insomnia. During a waiting period of six weeks prior to treatment, patients did not experience any change of their sleep parameters. After therapy, patients improved their total sleep time and sleep efficiency and reduced their sleep latency and negative sleep-related cognitions. Furthermore, depression scores decreased. Most of the treatment effects were significant at the end of the treatment and remained stable over the long-term follow-up, which was evaluated after a mean of almost three years (35 +/- 6.7 months). The subjective estimated total sleep time improved from 298 +/- 109 min prior to therapy to 351 +/- 54 min at the end of treatment, to 376 +/- 75 min at the 3-month follow-up, to 379 +/- 58 min at the 12-month follow-up and to 381 +/- 92 min. at the long-term follow-up.