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Sleep restriction therapy is a behavioural component within cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia and is an effective standalone treatment for insomnia, but its effect on depressive symptoms remains unclear. This review aimed to synthesise and evaluate the impact of single-component sleep restriction therapy on depressive symptoms relative to a control intervention. We searched electronic databases and sleep-related journals for randomised controlled trials and uncontrolled clinical trials, published from 1 January 1986 until 19 August 2023, that delivered sleep restriction therapy to adults with insomnia. Random-effects meta-analysis of standardised mean differences and Cochrane risk of bias assessment were performed on randomised controlled trials, while uncontrolled clinical trials were discussed narratively. The meta-analysis was pre-registered on PROSPERO (ID: CRD42020191803). We identified seven randomised controlled trials (N = 1102) and two uncontrolled clinical trials (N = 22). Findings suggest that sleep restriction therapy is associated with a medium effect for improvement in depressive symptoms at post-treatment (Nc  = 6, g = -0.45 [95% confidence interval = -0.70 to -0.21], p 

Original publication




Journal article


J Sleep Res

Publication Date



cognitive behavioural therapy, depression, insomnia, meta-analysis, psychological intervention, sleep restriction therapy