Objective sleep disturbance is associated with poor response to cognitive and behavioral treatments for insomnia in postmenopausal women

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Sleep medicine


STUDY OBJECTIVES: To determine whether insomnia patients with objective sleep disturbance are less responsive to cognitive and behavioral treatments than those without objective sleep disturbance, characterize effects of insomnia therapy on objective sleep, and determine whether reductions in nocturnal cognitive arousal correspond to changes in objective sleep.

METHODS: Secondary analysis of a single-site, randomized controlled trial. 113 postmenopausal women (56.40 ± 5.34 years) with menopause-related insomnia disorder were randomized to three treatment conditions: cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTI), sleep restriction therapy (SRT), or sleep education control. Primary outcomes were the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) and polysomnography (PSG) sleep parameters and were collected at pretreatment, posttreatment, and six-month follow-up.

RESULTS: Patients with lower pretreatment PSG sleep efficiency had lower rates of insomnia remission after active treatment relative to those with higher sleep efficiency (37.8% vs 61.8%). Neither CBTI and SRT produced clinically meaningful effects on PSG sleep. Exploratory analyses revealed that reductions in nocturnal cognitive arousal were associated with decreases in PSG sleep latency, but not wake after sleep onset.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings support an emerging literature suggesting that insomnia patients with objective sleep disturbance may have blunted response to insomnia therapy. Research is needed to enhance treatments to better improve insomnia in patients with objective sleep disturbance. A lack of observed CBTI and SRT effects on PSG sleep suggests that these therapies may be presently ill-designed to improve objective sleep. Nocturnal cognitive arousal may represent an entry point to improve objective sleep latency in insomnia. NAME: Behavioral Treatment of Menopausal Insomnia: Sleep and Daytime Outcomes. URL: clinicaltrials.gov. Registration: NCT01933295.

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