Insomnia patients with subjective short total sleep time have a boosted response to cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia despite residual symptoms

Andrea Galbiati*, Marco Sforza, Mattia Poletti, Laura Verga, Marco Zucconi, Luigi Ferini-Strambi, Vincenza Castronovo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Two distinct insomnia disorder (ID) phenotypes have been proposed, distinguished on the basis of an objective total sleep time less or more than 6 hr. In particular, it has been recently reported that patients with objective short sleep duration have a blunted response to cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I). The aim of this study was to investigate the differences of CBT-I response in two groups of ID patients subdivided according to total sleep time.

METHODS: Two hundred forty-six ID patients were subdivided into two groups, depending on their reported total sleep time (TST) assessed by sleep diaries. Patients with a TST greater than 6 hr were classified as "normal sleepers" (NS), while those with a total sleep time less than 6 hr were classified as "short sleepers" (SS).

RESULTS: The delta between Insomnia Severity Index scores and sleep efficiency at the beginning as compared to the end of the treatment was significantly higher for SS in comparison to NS, even if they still exhibit more insomnia symptoms. No difference was found between groups in terms of remitters; however, more responders were observed in the SS group in comparison to the NS group.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrate that ID patients with reported short total sleep time had a beneficial response to CBT-I of greater magnitude in comparison to NS. However, these patients may still experience the presence of residual insomnia symptoms after treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-67
Number of pages10
JournalBehavioral sleep medicine
Issue number1
Early online date23 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2020



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