Health Services Research & Development

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Reilly ED, Robinson SA, Petrakis BA, Kuhn E, Pigeon WR, Wiener RS, McInnes DK, Quigley KS. Mobile App Use for Insomnia Self-Management: Pilot Findings on Sleep Outcomes in Veterans. Interactive journal of medical research. 2019 Jul 24; 8(3):e12408.
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Abstract: BACKGROUND: Sleep disturbance is a major health concern among US veterans who have served since 2001 in a combat theater in Iraq or Afghanistan. We report subjective and objective sleep results from a pilot trial assessing self-management-guided use of a mobile app (CBT-i Coach, which is based on cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia) as an intervention for insomnia in military veterans. OBJECTIVE: The primary aim of this study was to evaluate changes in subjective and objective sleep outcomes from pre to postintervention. METHODS: Subjective outcomes included the Insomnia Severity Index, the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Inventory, and sleep-related functional status. A wearable sleep monitor (WatchPAT) measured objective sleep outcomes, including sleep efficiency, percent rapid eye movement (REM) during sleep, sleep time, and sleep apnea. A total of 38 participants were enrolled in the study, with 18 participants being withdrawn per the protocol because of moderate or severe sleep apnea and 9 others who dropped out or withdrew. Thus, 11 participants completed the full 6-week CBT-i Coach self-management intervention (ie, completers). RESULTS: Completer results indicated significant changes in subjective sleep measures, including reduced reports of insomnia (Z=-2.68, P=.007) from pre (mean 16.63, SD 5.55) to postintervention (mean 12.82, SD 3.74), improved sleep quality (Z=-2.37, P=.02) from pre (mean 12.82, SD 4.60) to postintervention (mean 10.73, SD 3.32), and sleep-related functioning (Z=2.675, P=.007) from pre (mean 13.86, SD 3.69) to postintervention (mean 15.379, SD 2.94). Among the objective measures, unexpectedly, objective sleep time significantly decreased from pre to postintervention ( =7.8, P=.02). There were no significant changes in percent REM sleep or sleep efficiency. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that the CBT-i Coach app can improve subjective sleep and that incorporating objective sleep measures into future, larger clinical trials or clinical practice may yield important information, particularly by detecting previously undetected sleep apnea. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02392000; http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02392000.