Examining the feasibility of a self-administered hypnosis intervention to improve sleep quality in college students.
Approximately two out of three college students report experiencing sub-optimal sleep quality, which has been shown to be associated with an increased risk of impaired academic success and higher self-reported negative moods. Preliminary evidence suggests that a clinician-administered hypnosis intervention may be beneficial in improving sleep quality in an undergraduate student population. However, no study to date has examined the feasibility of a self-administered hypnosis intervention to improve sleep quality in college students. Moreover, no previous study has investigated the effects of a self-administered hypnosis intervention on objectively measured sleep outcomes. The current study aimed to address these gaps by examining the feasibility, acceptability, and safety of a self-administered hypnosis intervention to improve sleep quality in a college student population, with the inclusion of actigraphy as an objective measure of sleep outcomes. Twenty-two college students who self-reported poor sleep quality were enrolled in a four-week study consisting of one baseline week and a three-week self-administered hypnosis intervention. Participants completed a daily sleep diary throughout the four-week study and were asked to wear an actigraph device each night during the first and last weeks of the study. Participants completed baseline and endpoint measures of sleep quality, insomnia symptoms, pre-sleep arousal, psychological distress, perceived stress, worry, and rumination. Twenty participants (91%) completed the study intervention and adherence to daily self-hypnosis practice with an audio recording was high. Zero study-related adverse events were reported, and participants perceived the intervention as easy to use and helpful for improving sleep quality. These results provide evidence for the feasibility, acceptability, and safety of a self-administered hypnosis intervention to improve sleep quality in a college student population. Regarding potential effects of the intervention on outcome variables, participants experienced significant improvement in sleep quality as well as significant decreases in insomnia symptoms and pre-sleep arousal from pre- to post-intervention. While no significant changes in nightly sleep duration were observed, objective sleep onset latency and sleep efficiency were significantly improved. In order to establish if the study intervention offers causal benefit to sleep outcomes, a randomized clinical trial comparing the study intervention to a minimal-effect control condition is needed.