Date of this Version
Journal of Psychosomatic Research 70 (2011) 335–345; doi:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2010.09.007
Objective: Sleep disturbance is highly prevalent among veterans. As an alternative to sleep medications with their undesirable side effects, nonpharmacological mind–body interventions may be beneficial for sleep management in primary care. The aim of this pilot study was to investigate whether a novel mind–body intervention, mind–body bridging (MBB), focusing on sleep, could improve self-reported sleep disturbance and comorbid symptoms in veterans.
Methods: This pilot study was a randomized controlled trial at the Veterans Affairs Salt Lake City Health Care System in which 63 veterans with self-reported sleep disturbance received MBB or an active sleep education control. Both interventions were conducted in two sessions, once per week. Patient-reported outcomes included the following: primary— Medical Outcomes Study (MOS) Sleep Survey, MOS Short Form-36V; secondary—Center for Epidemiological Studies– Depression, PTSD Check List–Military, Five-Factor Mindfulness Questionnaire.
Results: At both Week 1 (1 week after the first session) and post-intervention assessments, while sleep disturbance decreased in both groups, MBB performed significantly better than did the control group. Furthermore, self-reported PTSD symptoms improved in MBB, while they remained unchanged in the control. Overall mindfulness increased in MBB, while it remained unchanged in the control.
Conclusions: This study provides preliminary evidence that a brief sleep-focused MBB could be a promising intervention for sleep and potentially other comorbid symptoms (e.g., PTSD). MBB could help patients develop awareness skills to deal with sleep-related symptoms. Integration of MBB into primary care settings may enhance care of patients with sleep disturbance and co-morbid symptoms.