Many individuals with cancer report problems achieving an adequate and restorative sleep. This difficulty is due in part to the cognitive and somatic arousal that can accompany a stressful life experience. Unfortunately, chronic sleep deprivation is linked to poor physical and psychological health and an increased risk of mortality. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) is a well established treatment for sleep problems but has been criticized for actively modifying sleep processes that may respond better to acceptance-based approaches. Preliminary research suggests that mindfulness and the MBSR program may have some applications for sleep by promoting detachment from the cognitive arousal common to people with insomnia. This study will randomly allocate individuals with cancer to participate in one of the two programs in order to determine whether the MBSR program produces results comparable to CBT-I. The use of a non-inferiority research design is a novel and efficient way to compare the efficacy of treatments. MBSR will be considered non-inferior to CBT-I if it produces sleep efficiency rates within 5% of what is demonstrated by CBT-I. Wrist actigraphy will be used to objectively monitor and calculate sleep parameters. Assessments will be performed before and after program participation and again a three-month follow up.

Sheila Garland

Tom Baker Cancer Centre–Holy Cross Site, Calgary, Alberta, Canada