Sleep disturbance interventions in oncology patients and family caregivers: a comprehensive review and meta-analysis

Sleep Med Rev. 2012 Oct;16(5):397-414. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2011.07.002. Epub 2011 Nov 6.


Sleep disturbance is a significant problem for both oncology patients and family caregivers (FCs), and is associated with poorer functional status, quality of life, and potentially disease progression. This review describes a comprehensive literature search and meta-analysis of the efficacy of interventions for sleep disturbance in oncology patients and their FCs. This search revealed 47 studies that evaluated the effects of a number of interventions on sleep disturbance/sleep quality, as a primary or secondary outcome in oncology patients. The primary purposes of the review were to synthesize findings from intervention studies for sleep disturbance in oncology patients and their FCs; to evaluate the efficacy of these interventions; to identify gaps in the literature; and to provide directions for future research. In addition, all 47 intervention studies were evaluated in terms of key intervention and study characteristics. Both strong patterns and inconsistencies were identified among the studies, which complicate an evaluation of the efficacy of interventions, and may collectively guide future research. Finally, the importance of including the FC in sleep disturbance interventions is discussed. In light of the detrimental effects that sleep disturbance has on both the patient and the FC, this systematic review may better inform essential future intervention efforts.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Behavior Therapy
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Sleep
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / therapy