School of Medical and Health Sciences / School of Nursing and Midwifery
Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship
Background: Uncoupled sleep is a phenomenon characterised by a disconnect between sleep pattern and sleep complaint. This study examined the impact of uncoupled sleep on dysfunctional sleep beliefs and objective and subjective sleep outcomes in community-dwelling older adults following digitally delivered Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) to assess how these groups respond to CBT-I. Methods: Objective sleep was measured using wrist actigraphy, subjective sleep quality via sleep diaries and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). Dysfunctional sleep beliefs were assessed by the Dysfunctional Beliefs and Attitudes about Sleep scale (DBAS-16). All measurements were taken prior to and following a 4-week online CBT-I program. Linear mixed model and generalised linear mixed model analyses were conducted to examine objective and subjective sleep onset latency, total sleep time, wake after sleep onset and number of awakenings as well as PSQI and DBAS-16 scores, respectively. Results: Out of 80 enrolled participants, 62 participants (55 females, 89 %; 16 complaining good sleepers, 26 complaining poor sleepers, 11 non-complaining good sleepers, and nine non-complaining poor sleepers) completed the study. CBT-I reduced dysfunctional sleep beliefs across all sleeper classifications. Objective and self-reported changes in sleep parameters were demonstrated in complaining poor sleepers without uncoupled sleep. Complaining good sleepers with uncoupled sleep only reported a decrease in the number of subjective sleep awakenings. There were no changes in sleep outcomes in non-complaining good and non-complaining poor sleepers. Conclusions: Online CBT-I was effective in improving the sleep outcomes of individuals who had both subjective and objective poor sleep. However, as the online CBT-I reduced dysfunctional sleep beliefs in all sleep groups, further examination of dysfunctional sleep beliefs and whether they mediate the outcomes of digital CBT-I in older adults will need to be conducted.
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