One-Week Self-Guided Internet Cognitive Behavioral Treatments for Insomnia in Adults With Situational Insomnia During the COVID-19 Outbreak

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Objective: In the current global home confinement due to COVID-19, most individuals are facing unprecedented stress which can induce situational insomnia. We explored the efficacy of self-guided online cognitive behavioral treatment for insomnia (CBTI) on situational insomnia during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Methods: Participants were recruited from March to April in 2020 in Guangzhou, China. A 1-week Internet CBTI intervention was performed for all individuals with situational insomnia. The Pre-sleep Arousal Scale (PSAS), Insomnia Severity Index (ISI), and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) were measured before and after the intervention and compared between individuals who completed the intervention and those who did not.

Results: One hundred and ninety-four individuals with situational insomnia were included. For PSAS score, significant group effects were found on total score (p = 0.003), somatic score (p = 0.014), and cognitive score (p = 0.009). Time effect was significant on total score (p = 0.004) and cognitive score (p < 0.001). There was a significant group × time effect of the somatic score (p = 0.025). For ISI total score, there were significant time effect (p < 0.001) and group × time effect (p = 0.024). For the HADS score, a significant group effect was found on the anxiety score (p = 0.045). The HADS had significant time effects for anxiety and depressive symptoms (all p < 0.001).

Conclusion: Our study suggests good efficacy of CBTI on situational insomnia during COVID-19 for adults in the community, as well as on pre-sleep somatic hyperarousal symptom. The CBTI intervention is not applied to improve pre-sleep cognitive hyperarousal, depression, and anxiety symptoms.

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