Effect of depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms on response to cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia in patients with comorbid insomnia and sleep apnea: a randomized controlled trial

Alexander Sweetman, Leon Lack, R. Doug McEvoy, Peter G. Catcheside, Nick A. Antic, Ching Li Chai-Coetzer, James Douglas, Amanda O'Grady, Nicola Dunn, Jan Robinson, Denzil Paul, Simon Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

STUDY OBJECTIVES: Patients with comorbid insomnia and sleep apnea (COMISA) report increased severity of depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms compared to patients with either insomnia or sleep apnea alone. Although cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTi) is an effective treatment for COMISA, previous research suggests a reduced response to CBTi by patients with insomnia and depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms. Therefore, we used randomized controlled trial data to investigate the impact of depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms before treatment on changes in insomnia after CBTi vs control in patients with COMISA.

METHODS:145 patients with COMISA (insomnia as defined by the International Classification of Sleep Disorders, third edition and apnea-hypopnea index ≥ 15 events/h) were randomized to CBTi (n = 72) or no-treatment control (n = 73). One-week sleep diaries and standardized questionnaire measures of insomnia, sleepiness, fatigue, depression, anxiety, and stress were completed pretreatment and posttreatment. Mixed models were used to examine interactions between depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms before treatment, intervention-group (CBTi, control), and time (pretreatment, posttreatment) on insomnia symptoms.

RESULTS: Approximately half of this COMISA sample reported at least mild symptoms of depression (57%), anxiety (53%), and stress (48%) before treatment. Patients reporting greater depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms before treatment also reported increased severity of insomnia, daytime fatigue, and sleepiness. Improvements in questionnaire and diary-measured insomnia symptoms improved during CBTi and were not moderated by severity of depression, anxiety, or stress symptoms before treatment (all interaction P ≥ .11).

CONCLUSIONS: We found no evidence that symptoms of depression, anxiety, or stress impair the effectiveness of CBTi in improving insomnia symptoms in patients with COMISA. Patients with COMISA and comorbid symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress should be referred for CBTi to treat insomnia and improve subsequent management of their obstructive sleep apnea.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-554
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Sleep Medicine
Volume17
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021

Keywords

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • stress
  • cognitive behavioral therapy
  • CBT
  • insomnia
  • comorbid insomnia
  • sleep apnea
  • Continuous positive airway pressure therapy
  • COMISA
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Depression
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Stress
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms on response to cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia in patients with comorbid insomnia and sleep apnea: a randomized controlled trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this