Assisted Relaxation Therapy for Insomnia in Older Adults With Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Pilot Study

Miranda V. McPhillips, Junxin Li, Darina V. Petrovsky, Glenna S. Brewster, E. John Ward, Nancy Hodgson, Nalaka S. Gooneratne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Insomnia symptoms are prevalent in older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and can pose treatment challenges. We tested the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of assisted relaxation therapy (ART) to improve insomnia symptoms in community-dwelling older adults with MCI. In this pilot RCT, 25 participants were assigned to intervention or control groups for 2 weeks. The final sample (n = 20) consisted of all Black, primarily female (70%) older adults (mean age 69.10; SD = 7.45) with mean Montreal Cognitive Assessment scores of 21.10 (SD = 2.49). Recruitment was timely; attrition was low (80%). Participants were able to use ART (average use 7.00; SD = 5.07 days). Participants in the ART group improved on Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) (− 7.10; 95% CI [−11.63, −2.55]; p =.004) compared to baseline. There were clinically meaningful mean change scores on ISI for the intervention group compared to the control (− 7.10 vs. − 4.33). Results provide justification for testing ART in a fully powered clinical trial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-80
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Aging and Human Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • behavioral intervention
  • insomnia
  • mild cognitive impairment
  • older adults
  • sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Aging


Dive into the research topics of 'Assisted Relaxation Therapy for Insomnia in Older Adults With Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Pilot Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this