The present preliminary study aimed to shed light on the mechanisms underlying the development of insomnia. An analogue stressor (i.e., trauma video) was used to prevent presleep cognitive de-arousal. Subsequent changes in nocturnal sleep and sleep-related attentional processing were examined. Thirty-four participants were randomly assigned to either a cognitive arousal (trauma video; age: M = 22.9, SD = 4.3, 6 male, 11 female) or control (pleasant video; age: M = 23.8, SD = 5.8, 7 male, 10 female) condition. Although no significant differences were found for presleep cognitive de-arousal (p =.39), the cognitive arousal group experienced a significant worsening in sleep latency (p =.048, partial η2 =.12) and an increase in sleep-related attentional bias (p =.032, d = 0.51) following the manipulation. However, changes in sleep and attentional bias were not maintained. Vulnerability to stress did not significantly account for any change in attentional bias, arousal, or sleep. These findings challenge current conceptualizations of the development of insomnia, yet also supporting the notion that good sleep is a default state that protects individuals from sleep disturbance.