22.06.2020 | Psychiatrics • Original Article
Effects of a forehead cooling device in veterans with chronic insomnia disorder and co-morbid medical and psychiatric conditions: a pilot study
Vincent Mysliwiec, Thomas C. Neylan, Laurel Chiappetta, Eric A. Nofzinger
Sleep and Breathing
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While forehead cooling has been studied in patients with insomnia in the absence of comorbid medical/psychiatric disorders, it has never been evaluated in patients with insomnia in the presence of co-morbid medical/psychiatric disorders.
Veterans with chronic insomnia disorder and co-morbid medical and psychiatric conditions received 4-week open-label, in-home, nightly treatment with a forehead cooling device (14–16 °C) along with personalized sleep hygiene following baseline assessments. Pre- and post-treatment, participants completed the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI), the Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item scale (GAD-7), and the Patient Health Questionnaire 9-item scale (PHQ-9). Participants recorded daily sleep and anxiety/arousal symptoms.
Of 24 veterans (20 men, 42.2 ± 9.5 years), 17 (71%) had marked insomnia severity improvement (a decrease of > 8 on the ISI) and 10 (42%) participants scored 7 or below on the ISI at post-treatment reflecting remission. Participants reported reductions in sleep onset latency (SOL) (F = 12.9, p < 0.001), and wakefulness after sleep onset (WASO) (F = 8.4, p < 0.001) across treatment. They also had significant reductions in insomnia severity (t = 10.04, p < 0.001), anxiety (t = 3.59, p = 0.002), and depression (t = 7.75, p < 0.001) from pre- to post-treatment.
This pilot study shows that 4-week nightly use of a forehead cooling device produces improvements in insomnia, anxiety, and depressive symptoms in veterans with chronic insomnia disorder and co-morbid medical and psychiatric conditions. Controlled studies are warranted to determine the role of this therapy in the management of insomnia in veterans.
Not required as a small sample size feasibility study.