Testing a mindfulness meditation mobile app for the treatment of sleep-related symptoms in adults with sleep disturbance: A randomized controlled trial

PLoS One. 2021 Jan 7;16(1):e0244717. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0244717. eCollection 2021.

Abstract

The objective of this randomized controlled trial was to test whether a commercially available, mindfulness meditation mobile app, (i.e., Calm app), was effective in reducing fatigue (primary outcome), pre-sleep arousal, and daytime sleepiness (secondary outcomes) in adults with sleep disturbance (Insomnia Severity Index Score >10) as compared to a wait-list control group. Associations between the use of the Calm app (i.e., adherence to the intervention) and changes in sleep quality was also explored in the intervention group only. Adults with sleep disturbance were recruited (N = 640). Eligible and consenting participants (N = 263) were randomly assigned to the intervention (n = 124) or a wait-list control (n = 139) group. Intervention participants were asked to meditate using the Calm app ≥10 minutes/day for eight weeks. Fatigue, daytime sleepiness, and pre-sleep arousal were assessed at baseline, mid- (4-weeks) and post-intervention (8-weeks) in both groups, whereas sleep quality was evaluated only in the intervention group. Findings from intent-to-treat analyses suggest the use of the Calm app for eight weeks significantly decreased daytime fatigue (p = .018) as well as daytime sleepiness (p = .003) and cognitive (p = .005) and somatic (p < .001) pre-sleep arousal as compared to the wait-list control group. Within the intervention group, use of the Calm app was associated with improvements in sleep quality (p < .001). This randomized controlled trial demonstrates that the Calm app can be used to treat fatigue, daytime sleepiness, and pre-sleep arousal in adults with sleep disturbance. Given that the Calm app is affordable and widely accessible, these data have implications for community level dissemination of a mobile app to improve sleep-related symptoms associated with sleep disturbance. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04045275.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arousal / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meditation / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mindfulness / methods*
  • Mobile Applications
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / psychology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT04045275

Grants and funding

Behavioral Research and Analytics, LLC provided support in the form of salary for Dr. Puzia. The specific roles of these authors are articulated in the ‘author contributions’ section. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.