Supporting primary care for sleep disorders, including insomnia, in an adult population.

Kristien Coteur, Catharina Matheï, Marc Van Nuland

Keywords: co-design; primary care; insomnia; participatory research


Sleep disorders and insomnia are widespread problems in the general adult population, with prevalence of chronic insomnia varying from 6 to 76.3% worldwide, depending on the diagnostic and screening methods used. (NIH State of the Science, 2005; Nowicki et al., 2016; Ohayon & Lemoine, 2002; Rocha et al., 2002)
To treat sleep disorders, both national and international guidelines stress the importance of non-medicinal interventions. Research shows that these interventions can provide a healthy alternative for medication, and support the discontinuation of current use of sleep medication (Mitchell et al., 2012). The interventions mainly consist of educating patients and offering them the necessary tools for self-management of the health problem.

Research questions:

Which type of educational material for patients contributes to the implementation of recent national guidelines (2018) for the approach of sleep disorders and insomnia by primary care professionals?


Participatory design: co-design in three phases. In each phase, a different method was used, specifically selected to meet the requirements of the design process at that time.


During this project, the importance of well-trained primary care professionals was often emphasized, referring to their knowledge of sleep (architecture) and how to treat insomnia without medication. Professionals also discussed the importance of their network and proper referral. Patients pointed out many flaws in existing educational materials: use of jargon, no attention for the impact of insomnia on a patient's psychosocial well-being and their context, no differentiating between acute and chronic insomnia, etc.

During the presentation, we will discuss the main results of each phase more in detail. We will also discuss how we selected the method for each phase, and conclude with a draft version of the product that was designed.


Co-design is an interesting approach to combine perspectives when creating health-related materials for insomnia.

Funding statement
This work is supported by EBPracticenet.

Points for discussion:

co-design: can we use it more often to create materials that patients really relate to?

multidisciplinarity in the treatment of insomnia

insomnia as a public health topic: how to improve general knowledge?