Non-pharmachological approaches to the treatment of chronic insomnia

  • Vita Štukovnik
  • Leja Dolenc Grošelj
Keywords: insomnia, cognitivebehavioral therapy, non-pharmachological approaches, models of insomnia


Sleep disorders have a negative impact on the quality of life and contribute to physical and mental health problems. Insomnia is a pervasive condition with various causes, manifestations, and health consequences. Even though it can be triggered by a variety of precipitating events, psychological and behavioral factors are almost always involved in perpetuating or exacerbating it over time, and lead to chronic condition. This article reviews some basic models and mechanisms of chronic insomnia as well as the rationale and objectives of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in its management. CBT is a safe and effective treatment that may be used either as a monotherapy or to augment therapy with drugs. Evidence from controlled clinical trials indicates that the majority of patients (70 % to 80 %) with persistent insomnia respond to this treatment, which is comparable to medication treatment. Aside from the clinically measurable changes, this therapy system enables patients to regain a feeling of control over their sleep, thereby reducing the emotional distress that sleep disorders cause. But despite the evidence for effectiveness and efficacy of these therapies and also the preference for non-pharmacological treatments expressed by many patients, psychological and behavioral approaches still remain underutilized by health care practitioners. Thus, an important challenge for the future is to disseminate these evidence-based therapies more effectively and increase their routine use in clinical practice.


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Author Biography

Vita Štukovnik
dr. Vita Štukovnik, univ. dipl. psih.;
How to Cite
Štukovnik V, Dolenc Grošelj L. Non-pharmachological approaches to the treatment of chronic insomnia. ZdravVestn [Internet]. 1May2013 [cited 30Mar.2020];82(5). Available from: