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BackgroundSleep restriction therapy (SRT) is a behavioural therapy for insomnia.AimTo conduct a process evaluation of a randomised controlled trial comparing SRT delivered by primary care nurses plus a sleep hygiene booklet with the sleep hygiene booklet only for adults with insomnia disorder.Design and settingA mixed-methods process evaluation in a general practice setting.MethodSemi-structured interviews were conducted in a purposive sample of patients receiving SRT, the practice nurses who delivered the therapy, and also GPs or practice managers at the participating practices. Qualitative data were explored using framework analysis, and integrated with nurse comments and quantitative data, including baseline Insomnia Severity Index score and serial sleep efficiency outcomes to investigate the relationships between these.ResultsIn total, 16 patients, 13 nurses, six practice managers, and one GP were interviewed. Patients had no previous experience of behavioural therapy, needed flexible appointment times, and preferred face-to-face consultations; nurses felt prepared to deliver SRT, accommodating patient concerns, tailoring therapy, and negotiating sleep timings despite treatment complexity and delays between training and intervention delivery. How the intervention produced change was explored, including patient and nurse interactions and patient responses to SRT. Difficulties maintaining SRT, negative attitudes towards treatment, and low self-efficacy were highlighted. Contextual factors, including freeing GP time, time constraints, and conflicting priorities for nurses, with suggestions for alternative delivery options, were raised. Participants who found SRT a positive process showed improvements in sleep efficiency, whereas those who struggled did not.ConclusionSRT was successfully delivered by practice nurses and was generally well received by patients, despite some difficulties delivering and applying the intervention in practice.

Original publication




Journal article


British Journal of General Practice


Royal College of General Practitioners

Publication Date





e34 - e40