BACKGROUND: Sleep disorders are a risk factor for developing a variety of mental disorders, have a negative impact on their remission rates and increase the risk of relapse. Early identification and treatment of sleep disorders is therefore of paramount importance. Unfortunately, in mental health care sleep disorders are often poorly recognized and specific treatment frequently occurs late or not at all. This protocol-paper presents a randomized controlled trial investigating the clinical relevance of early detection and treatment of sleep disorders in mental health care. The two aims of this project are 1) to determine the prevalence of sleep disorders in different mental disorders, and 2) to investigate the contribution of early identification and adequate treatment of sleep disorders in individuals with mental disorders to their sleep, mental disorder symptoms, general functioning, and quality of life.
METHODS: Patients newly referred to a Dutch mental health institute for psychiatric treatment will be screened for sleep disorders with the self-assessment Holland Sleep Disorders Questionnaire (HSDQ). Patients scoring above the cut-off criteria will be invited for additional diagnostic evaluation and, treatment of the respective sleep disorder. Participants will be randomly assigned to two groups: Immediate sleep diagnostics and intervention (TAU+SI-T0), or delayed start of sleep intervention (TAU+SI-T1; 6 months after inclusion). The effect of sleep treatment as add-on to treatment as usual (TAU) will be tested with regard to sleep disorder symptoms, general functioning, and quality of life (in collaboration with a psychiatric sleep centre).
DISCUSSION: This trial will examine the prevalence of different sleep disorders in a broad range of mental disorders, providing information on the co-occurrence of specific sleep and mental disorders. Further, this study is the first to investigate the impact of early treatment of sleep disorders on the outcome of many mental disorders. Moreover, standard sleep interventions will be tailored to specific mental disorders, to increase their efficacy. The results of this trial may contribute considerably to the improvement of mental health care.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: This clinical trial has been retrospectively registered in the Netherlands Trial Register (NL8389; https://www.trialregister.nl/trial/8389) on February 2th, 2020.