Objective: Recently, a Dutch educational broadcasting company developed a 6 week self-help course for insomnia, which consists of a book and television programmes. In this study we examined its effects. Methods: 247 subjects with sleep problems were recruited through the media and randomized to the self-help treatment (n = 126) or a waiting list control group (n = 121). The intervention group received the book, and for 6 consecutive weeks a DVD or videotape. Subjects were assessed before and after the course. Results: Both groups improved significantly with respect to sleep but there were no significant differences in improvements between the groups. However, the intervention group improved significantly more on secondary outcomes: the subjective evaluation of sleep quality (d = 0.65), dysfunctional beliefs and attitudes about sleep (d = 0.62), depressive symptoms (d = 0.35), and quality of life (d = 0.34). Conclusion: Cognitive-behavioral self-help treatment does not necessarily lead to sleep improvements but it does improve coping with insomnia. Practice implications: About 2% of the Dutch adult population has watched the regular broadcastings of the course after the trial ended. This huge number of viewers underlines that there is a need for this type of low cost self-help treatment. © 2008 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.