Cognitive mechanisms of sleep outcomes in a randomized clinical trial of internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Sleep Med, Volume 47, p.77-85 (2018)


<p><b>OBJECTIVE: </b>The aim of this study was to investigate in a randomized clinical trial the role of sleep-related cognitive variables in the long-term efficacy of an online, fully automated cognitive behavioral therapy intervention for insomnia (CBT-I) (Sleep Healthy Using the Internet [SHUTi]).</p><p><b>METHOD: </b>Three hundred and three participants (M = 43.3 years; SD = 11.6) were randomly assigned to SHUTi or an online patient education condition and assessed at baseline, postintervention (nine weeks after baseline), and six and 12 months after the intervention period. Cognitive variables were self-reported internal and chance sleep locus of control, dysfunctional beliefs and attitudes about sleep (DBAS), sleep specific self-efficacy, and insomnia knowledge. Primary outcomes were self-reported online ratings of insomnia severity (Insomnia Severity Index), and sleep onset latency and wake after sleep onset from online sleep diaries, collected 12 months after the intervention period.</p><p><b>RESULTS: </b>Those who received SHUTi had, at postassessment, higher levels of insomnia knowledge (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.10-0.16) and internal sleep locus of control (95% CI = 0.04-0.55) as well as lower DBAS (95% CI = 1.52-2.39) and sleep locus of control attributed to chance (95% CI = 0.15-0.71). Insomnia knowledge, chance sleep locus of control, and DBAS mediated the relationship between condition and at least one 12-month postassessment sleep outcome. Within the SHUTi condition, changes in each cognitive variable (with the exception of internal sleep locus of control) predicted improvement in at least one sleep outcome one year later.</p><p><b>CONCLUSION: </b>Online CBT-I may reduce the enormous public health burden of insomnia by changing underlying cognitive variables that lead to long-term changes in sleep outcomes.</p>

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