Plain language summary
COVID-19 pandemic raised concerns about the effects of stress on mental health and sleep deficiency. Cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) has been shown to improve sleep quality and insomnia severity, as well as anxiety and depression, and may be protective during times of stress, including the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of this study was to examine changes in sleep, sleep-related cognitions, stress, anxiety, and depression among people with heart failure (HF). This study was a randomised controlled trial of the effects of CBT-I compared with HF self-management education (attention-control condition), the “HeartSleep Study.” Results showed that improvements in insomnia severity, sleep quality, latency, and efficiency, sleep-related cognitions and stress, anxiety, and depression after participation in CBT-I or an HF self-management class were sustained during the pandemic. Authors conclude that their findings confirm the clinical benefits of CBT-I for people with HF and comorbidities and also suggest the potential benefits of HF self-management education.
BACKGROUND The COVID-19 pandemic raised concerns about the effects of stress on sleep and mental health, particularly among people with chronic conditions, including people with heart failure (HF). OBJECTIVE The aim of this study was to examine changes in sleep, sleep-related cognitions, stress, anxiety, and depression among people with HF who participated in a randomized controlled trial of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia before the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS Participants self-reported sleep characteristics, symptoms, mood, and stress at baseline, 6 months after cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia or HF self-management education (attention control), and during the pandemic. RESULTS The sample included 112 participants (mean age, 63 ± 12.9 years; 47% women; 13% Black; 68% New York Heart Association class II or III). Statistically significant improvements in sleep, stress, mood, and symptoms that occurred 6 months post treatment were sustained during the pandemic. CONCLUSIONS Improving sleep and symptoms among people with HF may improve coping during stressful events, and cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia may be protective.