What is new in research on sleep?
In this Research Roundup, we explore new studies on sleep problems and their connections to anxiety and mood disorders, depression, and early dementia due to Alzheimer disease.
Exploring Connections Between Sleep Problems and Anxiety and Mood Disorders
This study investigated the relationship between sleep problems and anxiety and mood disorders using data from the Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study-2 (NEMESIS-2) over a 3-year period. The findings indicate that sleep problems are significantly associated with the development of mood disorders and the persistence of both anxiety and mood disorders. However, the relationship between sleep problems and the first onset of anxiety disorders was not significant, and sleep problems were mainly linked to relapses in anxiety disorders.
“The results underline the importance of identifying sleep problems of people with (an increased risk of) anxiety and mood disorders,” the investigators concluded. “The treatment of sleep problems may contribute to a reduced incidence of these mental disorders and a better and sustainable recovery.”
van der Riet J, Ten Have M, de Graaf R, Batelaan NM. De relatie tussen slaapproblemen en het ontstaan en beloop van angst- en stemmingsstoornissen [The relation between sleep problems and the onset and course of anxiety and mood disorders]. Tijdschr Psychiatr. 2023;65(7):411-417.
Rumination-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Symptoms of Depression, Anxiety, and Insomnia
This randomized controlled trial investigated the effects of group-based rumination-focused cognitive behavior therapy (RF-CBT) on symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia, repetitive negative thinking (RNT), and quality of life. The study found that RF-CBT was effective in treating insomnia with large and medium effect sizes and was potentially effective for depression with a medium effect size. However, there were no statistically significant differences for anxiety or RNT.
“The current study suggests that group-administered RF-CBT may be effective for insomnia and potentially effective for depression symptomatology,” the investigators concluded. “However, the study was underpowered to detect small and moderate effects and the results should therefore be interpreted with caution.”
Wallsten D, Norell A, Anniko M, et al. Treatment of worry and comorbid symptoms within depression, anxiety, and insomnia with a group-based rumination-focused cognitive-behaviour therapy in a primary health care setting: a randomised controlled trial. Front Psychol. 2023;14:1196945.
Examining Sleep to Better Understand Early Dementia in Alzheimer Disease
RESTED-AD is an observational cohort study that aims to enhance understanding of sleep abnormalities in early dementia due to Alzheimer disease and Alzheimer disease-mild cognitive impairment. The study involves multiple modalities of sleep measurement combined with a series of cognitive tasks, followed by repeat cognitive testing at 6 months. The ultimate goal is to identify targets for intervention in sleep and enable early diagnosis of Alzheimer disease pathology.
“This study will generate new insights particularly in micro-architectural measures of sleep, circadian patterns, and compensatory sleep responses in a population with and without [Alzheimer disease] neurodegenerative change,” the investigators concluded. “It aims to enhance standards of remotely based sleep research through use of a well-phenotyped population and advanced sleep measurement technology.”
Blackman J, Morrison HD, Gabb V, et al. Remote evaluation of sleep to enhance understanding of early dementia due to Alzheimer's disease (RESTED-AD): an observational cohort study protocol. BMC Geriatr. 2023;23(1):590.
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