Open Access Open Badges Study protocol

The GoodNight study—online CBT for insomnia for the indicated prevention of depression: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial

John A Gosling1*, Nick Glozier2, Kathleen Griffiths1, Lee Ritterband3, Frances Thorndike3, Andrew Mackinnon4, Kanupriya Kalia Hehir1, Anthony Bennett1, Kylie Bennett1 and Helen Christensen5

Author Affiliations

1 Centre for Mental Health Research, The Australian National University, Building 63, Eggleston Road, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia

2 Psychiatry, Central Clinical School and Brain and Mind Research Institute, University of Sydney Sydney, Australia

3 Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioural Sciences, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, USA

4 Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

5 Black Dog Institute, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

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Trials 2014, 15:56  doi:10.1186/1745-6215-15-56

Published: 13 February 2014



Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) delivered through the Internet is effective as a treatment in reducing insomnia in individuals seeking help for insomnia. CBT-I also lowers levels of depression in this group. However, it is not known if targeting insomnia using CBT-I will lower depressive symptoms, and thus reduce the risk of major depressive episode onset, in those specifically at risk for depression. Therefore, this study aims to examine whether Internet delivery of fully automated self-help CBT-I designed to reduce insomnia will prevent depression.


A sample of 1,600 community-dwelling adults (aged 18–64), who screen positive for both subclinical levels of depressive symptoms and insomnia, will be recruited via various media and randomised to either a 9-week online insomnia treatment programme, Sleep Healthy Using The internet (SHUTi), or an online attention-matched control group (HealthWatch). The primary outcome variable will be depression symptom levels at the 6-month post-intervention on the Patient Heath Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9). A secondary outcome will be onset of major depressive episodes assessed at the 6-month post-intervention using ‘current’ and ‘time from intervention’ criteria from the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview.


This trial is the first randomised controlled trial of an Internet-based insomnia intervention as an indicated preventative programme for depression. If effective, online provision of a depression prevention programme will facilitate dissemination.

Trial registration

Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR), Registration number: ACTRN12611000121965.