Andersen, S. R., Würtzen, H., Steding-Jessen, M., Christensen, J., Andersen, K. K., Flyger, H., . . . Dalton, S. O. (2013). Effect of mindfulness-based stress reduction on sleep quality: results of a randomized trial among Danish breast cancer patients. Acta Oncologica (Stockholm, Sweden), 52, 336–344.doi: 10.3109/0284186X.2012.745948
To determine if a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) intervention improves sleep quality in postoperative patients with breast cancer.
An MBSR intervention was implemented using a standardized MBSR manual and was led by trained instructors. The intervention included eight weekly MBSR group sessions lasting two hours each. Sessions included psychoeducation on stress response, gentle yoga, and mindfulness meditation. No additional content was added in regard to sleep problems. All participants were encouraged to practice MBSR at home for 45 minutes daily and were given CDs and meditation guides for home practice. All participated in a five-hour retreat after week 7. Assessments were performed postintervention and at 6 and 12 months.
Participants were undergoing the transition phase of care after active treatment.
The study was a randomized, controlled trial with repeated measures.
Sleep quality improved from baseline to postintervention for both groups, with statistically significant differences in mean scores for sleep quality for the MBSR group in two indices of the sleep problem index (p = 0.03). There were no significant differences between groups at the 6- and 12-month follow-ups. Change in overall sleep quality was also significantly better in the MBSR group from baseline to postintervention (p = 0.05) but with a small effect size (<0.3). Further quantile regression analysis revealed that those who participated in MBSR had a significantly smaller increase in sleep disturbances from baseline than the control group in the twenty-fifth percentile, although this effect was not significant across quartiles. The effects of MBSR on sleep quality were not modified by hot flushes or psychological distress.
MBSR has limited short-term but no long-term effects on sleep quality in postoperative patients with breast cancer. Effects on sleep quality are small and are not modified by hot flushes or psychological distress. Further study is needed to determine if MBSR is effective for patients with significant sleep problems immediately after surgery and if booster MBSR sessions have longer-term effects.
Further study is needed to determine if MBSR is effective for improving sleep quality in patients with breast cancer. Nurses should assess for sleep problems in patients with breast cancer across treatment and especially after treatment.