Pilot study of a mindfulness-based, multi-component, in-school group sleep intervention in adolescent girls


Corresponding author: Dr Bei Bei, Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, 12th Floor Redmond Barry Building, University of Melbourne, Vic. 3010, Australia. Email: beib@unimelb.edu.au



Existing literature links poor sleep and anxiety symptoms in adolescents. This pilot study aimed to develop a practical method through which a program to improve sleep could reach adolescents in need and to examine the feasibility of a mindfulness-based, multi-component group sleep intervention using sleep and anxiety as outcome measures.


Sixty-two grade 9 students (aged 13–15) at a girls’ school were screened with the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and Spence Children's Anxiety Scale (SCAS). Ten participants with self-reported poor sleep were enrolled into a six-session program based on Bootzin & Stevens, with added stress/anxiety-specific components. Sessions covered key aspects of basic mindfulness concepts and practice, sleep hygiene, sleep scheduling, evening/daytime habits, stimulus control, skills for bedtime worries and healthy attitudes to sleep. Treatment changes were measured by pre-post scores on the PSQI, SCAS and 7-day actigraphy-measured sleep.


The program demonstrated high acceptability, with a completion rate of 90%. Based on effect-size analysis, participants showed significant improvement on objective sleep onset latency (SOL), sleep efficiency and total sleep time; actigraphy data also showed significantly earlier bedtime, rise time and smaller day-to-day bedtime variation. Post-intervention global PSQI scores were significantly lower than that of pre-intervention, with significant improvement in subjective SOL, sleep quality and sleep-related daytime dysfunction. There were small improvements on some subscales of the SCAS, but change on its total score was minimal.


A mindfulness-based, multi-component, in-school group sleep intervention following brief screening is feasible, and has the potential to improve sleep. Its impact on anxiety needs further investigation.