JOURNAL ARTICLE

Refractory insomnia and sleep-disordered breathing: a pilot study

Barry Krakow, Dominic Melendrez, Samuel A Lee, Teddy D Warner, Jimmy O Clark, David Sklar
Sleep & Breathing 2004, 8 (1): 15-29
15026935

OBJECTIVE: To assess an uncontrolled, open-label trial of sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) treatment on two different samples of chronic insomnia patients.

METHOD: In Study 1 (Retrospective), data from one diagnostic and one continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) titration polysomnogram were compiled from 19 chronic insomnia patients with SDB. Objective polysomnogram indicators of sleep and arousal activity and self-reported sleep quality were measured. In Study 2 (Prospective), clinical outcomes were assessed after sequential cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and SDB therapy (CPAP, oral appliances, or bilateral turbinectomy) were provided to 17 chronic insomnia patients with SDB. Repeat measures included the Insomnia Severity Index, Functional Outcomes of Sleep Questionnaire, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, and self-reported insomnia indices and CPAP use.

RESULTS: In Study 1, seven objective measures of sleep and arousal demonstrated or approached significant improvement during one night of CPAP titration. Sixteen of 19 patients reported improvement in sleep quality. In Study 2, Insomnia Severity Index, Functional Outcomes of Sleep Questionnaire, and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index improved markedly with CBT followed by SDB treatment and achieved an average outcome equivalent to curative status. Improvements were large for each treatment phase; however, of 17 patients, only 8 attained a nonclinical level of insomnia after CBT compared with 15 patients after SDB therapy was added. Self-reported insomnia indices also improved markedly, and self-reported SDB therapy compliance was high.

CONCLUSIONS: In one small sample of chronic insomnia patients with SDB, objective measures of insomnia, arousal, and sleep improved during one night of CPAP titration. In a second small sample, validated measures of insomnia, sleep quality, and sleep impairment demonstrated clinical cures or near-cures after combined CBT and SDB therapies. These pilot results suggest a potential value in researching the pathophysiological relationships between SDB and chronic insomnia, which may be particularly relevant to patients with refractory insomnia.

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