Internet-based intervention that includes daily reminders to complete sleep diaries and wear actiwatch can potentially improve sleep in older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), according to study results published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia.

Patients with MCI are at increased risk for sleep disturbances, and internet-based interventions may aid in improving sleep in this population. As limited data exist on the role of technology in this population, this study aimed at using an existing internet-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, called Sleep Healthy Using the Internet for Older Adult Sufferers of Insomnia and Sleeplessness (SHUti OASIS). SHUti Oasis collects daily sleep diary data and delivers the automated intervention throughout 9 weeks.

In this ongoing study, researchers collected daily sleep diary data using wrist-worn actigraphs over a 14-day period before the intervention and over a 14-day period after the intervention. SHUTi OASIS sent daily morning emails to remind participants to complete the sleep diary and wear the actiwatch at night.

The study sample included 7 patients (mean age 76.0 years; women, 4) and 4 spouses. All patients with MCI completed 10 sleep diaries over the course of 14 days. Most accessed the SHUTi OASIS program daily and wore the actiwatch between 5 and 14 days.


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The automated e-mail reminders and logging into SHUTi OASIS program may be associated with the completion of participants’ sleep diaries. Inconsistent use of actigraphy at night may be secondary to the early-morning timing of e-mail reminders.

“Incorporating technology for subjective and objective sleep data collection in this population is promising, and future work should consider frequency and timing of reminders with multimodal technology use,” concluded the study researchers.

Reference

Mattos MK, Barnes L, Davis EM, et al. Preliminary feasibility of technology use in an internet-delivered intervention: Improving sleep in older adults with mild cognitive impairment. Alzheimers Dement. Published online December 7, 2020. doi:10.1002/alz.038831