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Stroke is frequently accompanied by long-term sleep disruption. We therefore aimed to assess the efficacy of digital cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia to improve sleep after stroke. A parallel group randomised controlled trial was conducted remotely in participant's homes/online. Randomisation was online with minimisation of between-group differences in age and baseline Sleep Condition Indicator-8 score. In total, 86 community-dwelling stroke survivors consented, of whom 84 completed baseline assessments (39 female, mean 5.5 years post-stroke, mean 59 years old), and were randomised to digital cognitive behavioural therapy or control (sleep hygiene information). Follow-up was at post-intervention (mean 75 days after baseline) and 8 weeks later. The primary outcome was self-reported insomnia symptoms, as per the Sleep Condition Indicator-8 (range 0–32, lower numbers indicate more severe insomnia, reliable change 7 points) at post-intervention. There were significant improvements in Sleep Condition Indicator-8 for digital cognitive behavioural therapy compared with control (intention-to-treat, digital cognitive behavioural therapy n = 48, control n = 36, 5 imputed datasets, effect of group p ≤ 0.02, (Formula presented.) = 0.07–0.12 [medium size effect], pooled mean difference = −3.35). Additionally, secondary outcomes showed shorter self-reported sleep-onset latencies and better mood for the digital cognitive behavioural therapy group, but no significant differences for self-efficacy, quality of life or actigraphy-derived sleep parameters. Cost-effectiveness analysis found that digital cognitive behavioural therapy dominates over control (non-significant cost savings and higher quality-adjusted life years). No related serious adverse events were reported to the researchers. Overall, digital cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia effectively improves sleep after stroke. Future research is needed to assess earlier stages post-stroke, with a longer follow-up period to determine whether it should be included as part of routine post-stroke care. NCT04272892.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Sleep Research

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