Adults who participated in an online cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia program for nine weeks experienced greater reductions in depression and anxiety symptoms than those who did not six months later.
Participating in an online self-directed cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) program may reduce the risk of depressive episodes in poor sleepers with subclinical levels of depressive symptoms, according to the preliminary results from a large clinical trial.
The GoodNight study enrolled 1,148 Australian adults, aged 18 to 64 years, Frances Thorndike, Ph.D., one of the investigators, told Psychiatric News.
Thorndike, an assistant professor of psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, is a member of the team that developed the fully automated version of CBT-I called Sleep Healthy Using the Internet (SHUTi) that was used in the study.
“Insomnia is a risk factor for depression, even before a first depressive episode,” Thorndike noted. The study, funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, is the first randomized, controlled clinical trial to assess whether online CBT-I can both reduce symptoms of depression and prevent later onset of major depressive episodes, she said.