Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 176–183 | Cite as

Sleep management training for cancer patients with insomnia

Original Article


Insomnia is a common phenomenon in cancer patients; nevertheless, there are only a few intervention results published covering this topic. We examined the effects of a multi-modal psychological sleep management programme combining relaxation techniques, sleep hygiene, cognitive techniques and advice in stimulus control technique on various sleep and quality-of-life variables. We compared two intervention groups up to 6 months after treatment, one with progressive muscle relaxation (n=80), the other with autogenic training (n=71). A control group (n=78) received only a standard rehabilitation programme. It was a heterogeneous sample of adult patients (mean age 58 years) predominantly with breast, kidney or prostate cancer staying for 3 or 4 weeks in an oncological rehabilitation clinic. In comparison to the control group, the analysis of variance for repeated measures (R-MANOVA) showed significant improvements over time, indicating that intervention group participants benefited with moderate- or large-scale effects on sleep latency (p<0.001), sleep duration (p<0.001), sleep efficiency (p<0.001), sleep quality (p<0.001), sleep medication (p<0.05) and daytime dysfunction (p<0.05). In quality-of-life subscales, there was mainly improvement over time. This may indicate a benefit of the rehabilitation treatment in general. No evidence was found for any differences between the two intervention groups. The results suggest that the use of a multi-modal psychological sleep intervention could enhance various sleep parameters and well being of patients. The efficacy on quality of life is still under review.


Insomnia Sleep management Relaxation Quality of life 



This study was funded by grant number 50–34 from the Verein zur Förderung der Rehabilitationsforschung in Schleswig-Holstein e.V. (vffr). We also wish to express our appreciation to Jens Bade as project director and Gary Hlavaty, Christian Simeit, Randolph Krebs, Anja Pliske and Andrea März for their helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Röpersbergklinik RatzeburgRatzeburgGermany
  2. 2.Institut für Sozialmedizin der Universitätsklinik LübeckLübeckGermany
  3. 3.Röpersbergklinik RatzeburgRatzeburgGermany

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