The role of cognitive-behavioral therapy in behavioral childhood insomnia

Liat Tikotzky, Avi Sadeh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Behavioral insomnia is a very common problem throughout childhood. It has negative impact on children and their families and can persist for many years if not treated. Interventions based on cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) principles have mainly focused on withdrawing excessive parental bedtime involvement and helping children develop self-soothing strategies for falling asleep and resuming sleep during the night. With young children, these interventions are mostly based on training and modifying parental behaviors. Changing parental sleep-related expectations, beliefs and perceptions is an important component in these interventions. With older children and adolescents, more versatile interventions exist and they include additional components of CBT including relaxation and stress reduction techniques, modifying cognitive processes related to worrying and anxiety, positive imagery training and others. Extensive research has established the efficacy of behavioral interventions in early childhood. However, research on interventions for older children has been very limited and has failed to provide sufficient information on the efficacy of specific CBT techniques for childhood insomnia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)686-691
Number of pages6
JournalSleep Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2010


  • CBT
  • Childhood
  • Extinction
  • Infant
  • Insomnia
  • Night-waking
  • Parent
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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