Fifteen middle-aged day workers were randomly assigned to one of two intervention groups: OLAVE (n = 8, with the Braintap Headset – New Bern, NC) or CONTROL (n = 7) (placebo group) for a period of 6 weeks. Both groups attended six, weekly sessions, during the day, at the same time and day of the week. During the 10-week trial, participants completed four different questionnaires including three self-assessment questionnaires for insomnia symptoms, sleep quality and emotional impairment, and a sleep diary. Actigraph, heart rate and heart rate variability readings were also recorded during the intervention.
After 6 weeks, between-group differences were found in sleep fragmentation (Wake After Sleep Onset – WASO, p=0.04) and sleep quality (Pittsburgh Quality of Sleep index – PSQI, p<0.0001; Consensus Sleep Diary – CSD, Total Sleep Time Subset, p=0.004) in the OLAVE group. Within-group differences showed that both groups reported some improvement in sympathovagal balance and significant improvements in insomnia symptoms (Insomnia Severity Index – ISI, p<0.05) and emotional reactivity (impairment) (p<0.05), which continued to the end of the trial. Improvement in sleep quality (PSQI, p<0.001, CSD, p<0.01), WASO (p<0.01) and sleep efficiency (p<0.05) in the OLAVE group were reported at the 2-week post-intervention period.
Results suggest that OLAVE technology used during daytime may be efficacious in improving chronic insomnia in adult dayworkers with normal sleep length. Further exploration of OLAVE as a non-pharmacotherapeutic intervention for reducing chronic insomnia in adult dayworkers is warranted.