Stabilising sleep for patients admitted at acute crisis to a psychiatric hospital (OWLS): An assessor-blind pilot randomised controlled trial
© Copyright Cambridge University Press 2017. Background: When patients are admitted onto psychiatric wards, sleep problems are highly prevalent. We carried out the first trial testing a psychological sleep treatment at acute admission (Oxford Ward sLeep Solution, OWLS). Methods: This assessor-blind parallel-group pilot trial randomised patients to receive sleep treatment at acute crisis [STAC, plus standard care (SC)], or SC alone (1 : 1). STAC included cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) for insomnia, sleep monitoring and light/dark exposure for circadian entrainment, delivered over 2 weeks. Assessments took place at 0, 2, 4 and 12 weeks. Feasibility outcomes assessed recruitment, retention of participants and uptake of the therapy. Primary efficacy outcomes were the Insomnia Severity Index and Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale at week 2. Analyses were intention-to-treat, estimating treatment effect with 95% confidence intervals. Results: Between October 2015 and July 2016, 40 participants were recruited (from 43 assessed eligible). All participants offered STAC completed treatment (mean sessions received = 8.6, s.d. = 1.5). All participants completed the primary end point. Compared with SC, STAC led to large effect size (ES) reductions in insomnia at week 2 (adjusted mean difference -4.6, 95% CI -7.7 to -1.4, ES -0.9), a small improvement in psychological wellbeing (adjusted mean difference 3.7, 95% CI -2.8 to 10.1, ES 0.3) and patients were discharged 8.5 days earlier. One patient in the STAC group had an adverse event, unrelated to participation. Conclusions: In this challenging environment for research, the trial was feasible. Therapy uptake was high. STAC may be a highly effective treatment for sleep disturbance on wards with potential wider benefits on wellbeing and admission length.