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Sleeping Partner May Unintentionally Contribute to Insomnia

Sleeping Partner May Unintentionally Contribute to Insomnia

New research suggests that partners of people who have insomnia may engage in behaviors that inadvertently conflict with treatment recommendations.

Investigators discovered that 74 percent of partners encouraged an early bedtime or late wake time, which is in direct conflict with the principles of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTI).

Forty-two percent also encouraged doing other things in bed, such as reading or watching TV, and 35 percent encouraged naps, caffeine, or reduced daytime activities.

“It is possible that partners are unwittingly perpetuating insomnia symptoms in the patient with insomnia,” said lead author Alix Mellor, Ph.D., coordinator of the Researching Effective Sleep Treatments (REST) project in the School of Psychological Sciences at Monash University in Victoria, Australia.

“It is therefore important for more data to be collected to determine whether insomnia treatments may better benefit patients and their partners by proactively assessing and addressing bed partner behaviors in treatment programs.”

The research team was led by Mellor and chief investigator Sean P. A. Drummond, Ph.D., professor of clinical neuroscience at the Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences.

They studied 31 partners, including 14 women, of individuals seeking treatment for insomnia as part of a randomized, controlled trial investigating partner-assisted interventions for insomnia.

Partners completed several questionnaires at baseline: the Family Accommodation Scale, Beck Anxiety Inventory, and Dyadic Adjustment Scale. The insomnia patients also completed baseline questionnaires, including the Insomnia Severity Index, and kept a sleep diary for one week prior to starting treatment.

Results also show that bed partners made accommodations that affected their own functioning, including their sleep and life outside of work.

Researchers believe this behavior may explain why partners who attempted to be helpful experienced more anxiety, even though the insomnia patients perceived the relationship to be more satisfying.

“Our preliminary results suggest that while some of these behaviors make the patient feel supported, their partner may be experiencing more anxiety,” said Mellor.

The research abstract was published recently in an online supplement of the journal Sleep and will be presented at SLEEP 2017, the 31st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC (APSS).

Source: American Academy of Sleep Medicine/EurekAlert

Sleeping Partner May Unintentionally Contribute to Insomnia

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2017). Sleeping Partner May Unintentionally Contribute to Insomnia. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 25, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2017/06/05/sleeping-partner-may-unintentionally-contribute-to-insomnia/121519.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 5 Jun 2017
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 5 Jun 2017
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.