Insomnia: diagnosis & treatment

Estimated Duration: 
1 hour

Insomnia affects up to 40% of the general practice population and is one of the most frequent complaints in primary care. It is defined as a report of sleep initiation or maintenance problems despite adequate circumstance and opportunity to sleep, which impacts on daytime functioning.

Insomnia has detrimental effects on an individual’s health, quality of life, psychological, social and occupational functioning and places a huge burden on the healthcare system. In particular, chronic insomnia disorder is associated with an increased risk of depression, anxiety and cardiovascular disease. It is also associated with an increased risk of motor vehicle crashes and accidents.

Insomnia can occur as an acute, recurrent or chronic problem. Chronic insomnia often occurs with comorbid medical or psychiatric illness (e.g. depression). Cognitive behavioural therapies are often successful in treating insomnia and comorbid conditions also need to be addressed. In some situations, both non-pharmacological and pharmacological strategies are required to manage insomnia.

This course outlines how general practitioners can effectively assess and manage a patient with insomnia and focusses on the management of chronic insomnia disorder.


Following the course, you will find a short quiz designed to help consolidate your learning. When you complete the quiz please hit the 'submit' button to receive your certificate. This course provides 1 MOPs points or 1 hour of CPD.


The content has been developed by Dr Karen Falloon, Dr Bruce Arroll and Dr Andrew Veale on behalf of the Goodfellow Unit with input from Dr Alex Bartle and Dr Anna Clarkson. It was updated in 2018 by Dr Karen Falloon, with thanks to the Australasian Sleep Association's (GP education subcommittee) contribution to development and review.

The material is presented by the Goodfellow Unit (GFU), an accredited continuing medical education/ continuing professional development (CME/CPD) provider for the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners and functions under a tripartite agreement between the Goodfellow Foundation, the College and the University of Auckland. The Unit is located within the Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, and within the School of Population Health.


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