Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 665–692 | Cite as

Role of Thoughts During Nocturnal Awake Times in the Insomnia Experience of Older Adults

  • Catherine S. Fichten
  • Eva Libman
  • Laura Creti
  • Rhonda Amsel
  • Stéphane Sabourin
  • William Brender
  • Sally Bailes


The frequency of difficulty initiating and maintaining sleep increases with age. Yet, not all poor sleepers complain of insomnia. Our cognitive model of insomnia predicts that sleep complaints in poor sleepers are a function of negative thinking during nocturnal wakefulness as well as of poor sleep quality. To test descriptive aspects of the model, we examined the content and valence of thoughts listed or endorsed by two large samples of older adults. We compared positive and negative thoughts reported by good sleepers and by 2 types of poor sleepers: those experiencing either high or low distress about their insomnia. Thought listing and inventory results both support the model: negative thought frequencies were closely related to poor sleep, distress about insomnia, and poor daytime psychological adjustment. The findings provide an empirical basis for the modification of maladaptive cognitions as potentially important in therapeutic intervention for insomnia.

insomnia sleep self-statements thoughts cognitive model 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine S. Fichten
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Eva Libman
    • 2
    • 4
    • 5
  • Laura Creti
    • 2
    • 4
  • Rhonda Amsel
    • 5
  • Stéphane Sabourin
    • 6
  • William Brender
    • 2
    • 4
  • Sally Bailes
    • 2
  1. 1.Dawson CollegeMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Sir Mortimer B. Davis-Jewish General HospitalMontrealCanada
  3. 3.McGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  4. 4.Concordia UniversityMontrealCanada
  5. 5.McGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  6. 6.Université LavalMontrealCanada

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