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Keywords:

  • fatigue;
  • insomnia;
  • non-pharmacological treatment;
  • peritoneal dialysis;
  • renal supportive care;
  • self-care;
  • sleep hygiene

Aims and objectives

This study aimed to evaluate effects of a non-pharmacological intervention on sleep, activity and fatigue in patients receiving peritoneal dialysis by the use of both actigraphy registration and self-assessed questionnaires.

Background

Insomnia is estimated to affect up to 60% of haemo- and peritoneal dialysis patients. It is associated with two common uremic symptoms, pruritus and restless legs syndrome. To our knowledge, no interventions have been evaluated by actigraphy.

Design

A prospective multiple baseline single-case experimental design.

Methods

Two women and seven men with sleep problems, 48–77 years, treated with PD participated in a 17-week study from January 2009 to February 2011. Two interventions were separately implemented. First, a pressure-relieving mattress and second, a four week individual sleep hygiene and sleep scheduling intervention. The two interventions were evaluated both objectively by actigraphy and subjectively by questionnaires.

Results

A total of 315 sleep–wake cycles from nine individuals were evaluated. Three patients improved clinically significantly in five or more of the nine outcomes, i.e. sleep onset latency, nocturnal sleep duration, numbers and duration of napping, movement and fragmentation index, number of steps, metabolic equivalent unit, sleep efficiency and fatigue. The other six patients also showed improvements but to a lesser degree. Physical activity advice was the intervention that yielded most sleep improvements.

Conclusions

This study illuminates the need for regular assessment of sleep and tiredness. It also demonstrates how a non-pharmacological treatment and self-management can be applied with renal supportive care to improve sleep quality.

Relevance to clinical practice

This study is a clinical example of a non-pharmacological intervention with supportive care and self-management. This model can improve health and reduce the pharmacological burden because hypnotics can be replaced by sleep hygiene self-care activities.