The prevalence of sleep problems in adulthood increases with age. While not all sleep changes are pathological in later life, severe disturbances may lead to depression, cognitive impairments, deterioration of quality of life, significant stresses for carers and increased healthcare costs. The most common treatment for sleep disorders (particularly insomnia) is pharmacological. The efficacy of non-drug interventions has been suggested to be slower than pharmacological methods, but with no risk of drug-related tolerance or dependency. Cognitive and behavioural treatments for sleep problems aim to improve sleep by changing poor sleep habits, promoting better sleep hygiene practices and by challenging negative thoughts, attitudes and beliefs about sleep.
To assess the efficacy of cognitive-behavioural interventions in improving sleep quality, duration and efficiency amongst older adults (aged 60 and above).
The following databases were searched: MEDLINE (1966 - October 2001); EMBASE (1980 - January 2002), CINAHL ( 1982 - January 2002; PsychINFO 1887 to 2002; The Cochrane Library (Issue 1, 2002); National Research Register (NRR ). Bibliographies of existing reviews in the area, as well as of all trial reports obtained, were searched. Experts in the field were consulted.
Randomised controlled trials of cognitive behavioural treatments for primary insomnia where 80% or more of participants were over 60. Participants must have been screened to exclude those with dementia and/or depression.
Abstracts of studies identified in searches of electronic databases were read and assessed to determine whether they might meet the inclusion criteria. Data were analysed separately depending on whether results had been obtained subjectively or objectively.
Six trials, including 282 participants with insomnia, examined the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioural treatments (CBT) for sleep problems in this population. The final total of participants included in the meta-analysis was 224. The data suggest a mild effect of CBT for sleep problems in older adults, best demonstrated for sleep maintenance insomnia.
When the possible side-effects of standard treatment (hypnotics) are considered, there is an argument to be made for clinical use of cognitive-behavioural treatments. Research is needed to establish the likely predictors of success with such treatments. As it may well be the case that the treatment efficacy of cognitive-behavioural therapy itself is not durable, the provision of "top-up" ("refresher" sessions of CBT training to improve durability of effect are worthy of investigation.
"Moreover, CBT-I has been shown to be as effective as medication in the short term and more effective in the long term (Jacobs et al., 2004). Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia has been examined and shown to be efficacious specifically in the context of late-life insomnia (Morin et al., 1999a; Montgomery and Dennis, 2003). A meta-analysis of the efficacy of CBT-I and its core behavioral components for treating insomnia in older adults found moderate mean effects sizes for diary outcomes of latency to sleep onset, time awake after sleep onset, sleep efficiency, and self-rated sleep quality (Irwin et al., 2006). "
"Beginning with the seminal works by Morin et al.  and Murtagh & Greenwood , nine meta-analyses of the effects of CBT-I on primary insomnia [26,28,30,31,78e82] were examined, summarized in Table 5. The magnitude of effect of CBT-I on TST in our sample was similar to the effect found in studies of primary insomnia in older adults   , but smaller than that found in studies of younger adults   . Results for SOL and WASO were similar to those for TST. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: s u m m a r y Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) is effective for treatment of primary insomnia. There has been no synthesis of studies quantifying this effect on insomnia comorbid with medical and psy-chiatric disorders using rigorous selection criteria. The objective of this study was to quantify the effect of CBT-I in studies including patients with medical or psychiatric disorders. Studies were identified from 1985 through February 2014 using multiple databases and bibliography searches. Inclusion was limited to randomized controlled trials of CBT-I in adult patients with insomnia diagnosed using standardized criteria, who additionally had a comorbid medical or psychiatric condition. Twenty-three studies including 1379 patients met inclusion criteria. Based on weighted mean differences, CBT-I improved subjective sleep quality post-treatment, with large treatment effects for the insomnia severity index and Pittsburgh sleep quality index. Sleep diaries showed a 20 min reduction in sleep onset latency and wake after sleep onset, 17 min improvement in total sleep time, and 9% improvement in sleep efficiency post-treatment, similar to findings of meta-analyses of CBT-I in older adults. Treatment effects were durable up to 18 mo. Results of actigraphy were similar to but of smaller magnitude than subjective measures. CBT-I is an effective, durable treatment for comorbid insomnia.
Sleep Medicine Reviews 01/2015; 23:54-67. DOI:10.1016/j.smrv.2014.11.007 · 8.51 Impact Factor
"Among older adults, the use of behavioural approaches for the treatment of insomnia is increasingly viewed as an effective and recommended alternative to pharmacologic therapies, given that behavioural treatment can be administered without the risk of side effects found with pharmacotherapy . Three recent meta-analyses support the efficacy of these behavioural approaches [73–75], and one comparative meta-analysis found that behaviour therapy and pharmacologic treatments yielded similar improvements in sleep maintenance, total sleep time and sleep quality, with some advantage for behaviour treatments in improving sleep latency . Importantly, gains from various behavioural treatments have been demonstrated across all sleep outcomes with the exception of total sleep time, with evidence from a few studies in older adults that these benefits are sustained for months to years following treatment. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sleep quality is important to health, and increasingly viewed as critical in promoting successful, resilient aging. In this review, the interplay between sleep and mental and physical health is considered with a focus on the role of inflammation as a biological pathway that translates the effects of sleep on risk of depression, pain and chronic disease risk in aging. Given that sleep regulates inflammatory biologic mechanisms with effects on mental and physical health outcomes, the potential of interventions that target sleep to reduce inflammation and promote health in aging is also discussed.
Interface focus: a theme supplement of Journal of the Royal Society interface 10/2014; 4(5):20140009. DOI:10.1098/rsfs.2014.0009 · 2.63 Impact Factor
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