14 Nature and Treatment of Insomnia

Health Psychology


  1. Charles M. Morin PhD,
  2. Josée Savard PhD,
  3. Marie-Christine Ouellet PhD

Published Online: 26 SEP 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118133880.hop209014

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

How to Cite

Morin, C. M., Savard, J. and Ouellet, M.-C. 2012. Nature and Treatment of Insomnia. Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition. 9:III:14.

Author Information

  1. Université Laval, École de Psychologie, Québec, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 26 SEP 2012


There is a strong association between sleep and health. Both mental and physical health are very much dependent on adequate sleep quality and duration; likewise, healthy sleep is much dependent on good physical and mental health. Not surprisingly, there is a very high rate of comorbidity between sleep disturbances and mental and physical health problems. Insomnia is the most common of all sleep disorders, affecting nearly 25% of all adults at least occasionally and 10% on a more persistent basis. Chronic insomnia produces negative consequences on numerous aspects of quality of life and is a risk factor for mental (e.g., depression) and physical (e.g., hypertension) health problems. After presenting an overview of some basic facts about sleep and the impact of sleep loss on different areas of functioning, this chapter reviews the nature and treatment of insomnia. The nature of insomnia complaints and its epidemiology is summarized, with a summary of the evidence on its natural history, prevalence, risk factors, and long-term course. This is followed by a description of validated assessment methods for sleep/wake complaints and a review of current therapeutic options for the management of insomnia, with a predominant emphasis on cognitive-behavioral approaches.


  • sleep;
  • insomnia;
  • health;
  • treatment