Sleep disturbance in adolescents is common, with up to one-third reporting significant symptoms of insomnia. Research with adults has demonstrated that Web-based cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTi) can improve both sleep and mental health. However, research with adolescents is lacking, and we know little about whether CBTi would have similar effects on this younger population.
This paper summarizes the protocol of a study to assess the feasibility of adding supported Web-based CBTi to the usual care of young people aged 14-17 years attending specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
This is an open trial where we will recruit young people (N=50) aged 14-17 years attending specialist CAMHS with primary or comorbid symptoms of insomnia. In addition to their usual care, young people will be provided with Sleepio, a 6-session, Web-based CBTi self-help program for insomnia. Sleepio teaches a range of techniques including sleep hygiene, relaxation training, stimulus control, sleep restriction, and cognitive techniques that participants will be helped to apply through brief, weekly telephone support calls. Questionnaires and interviews will be completed at baseline and postintervention (8-10 weeks) and will assess sleep, symptoms of depression and anxiety, and acceptability of Sleepio and telephone support.
This study will provide preliminary evidence about whether supported Web-based CBTi is acceptable to young people with mental health problems and about the postintervention effects on sleep and symptoms of anxiety and depression. This information will determine whether a randomized trial to determine the effectiveness of Sleepio should be undertaken.