Does improving sleep lead to better mental health? A protocol for a meta-analytic review of randomised controlled trials

BMJ Open. 2017 Sep 18;7(9):e016873. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-016873.


Introduction: Sleep and mental health go hand-in-hand, with many, if not all, mental health problems being associated with problems sleeping. Although sleep has been traditionally conceptualised as a secondary consequence of mental health problems, contemporary views prescribe a more influential, causal role of sleep in the formation and maintenance of mental health problems. One way to evaluate this assertion is to examine the extent to which interventions that improve sleep also improve mental health.

Method and analysis: Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) describing the effects of interventions designed to improve sleep on mental health will be identified via a systematic search of four bibliographic databases (in addition to a search for unpublished literature). Hedges' g and associated 95% CIs will be computed from means and SDs where possible. Following this, meta-analysis will be used to synthesise the effect sizes from the primary studies and investigate the impact of variables that could potentially moderate the effects. The Jadad scale for reporting RCTs will be used to assess study quality and publication bias will be assessed via visual inspection of a funnel plot and Egger's test alongside Orwin's fail-safe n. Finally, mediation analysis will be used to investigate the extent to which changes in outcomes relating to mental health can be attributed to changes in sleep quality.

Ethics and dissemination: This study requires no ethical approval. The findings will be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal and promoted to relevant stakeholders.

Prospero registration number: CRD42017055450.

Keywords: intervention; mental health; meta-analysis; protocol; review; sleep.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / etiology*
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Mental Health*
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Research Design*
  • Review Literature as Topic
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / complications*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / therapy*
  • Sleep*