Sleep is related to cognitive functioning, learning, and brain development in the adolescent population. Recent research indicates a rise in the presence of chronic sleep disorders such as insomnia in adolescents, particularly following the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, research on the effectiveness of sleep interventions for adolescents is necessary to guide treatment in adolescents. The authors conducted a systematic review of literature examining research on outcomes of treatment interventions for insomnia on sleep quality and cognitive functioning in adolescents. Results indicate a dearth of research examining effectiveness of treatment in adolescents, particularly in relation to the impact of such treatment on cognitive functioning in adolescents. The following paper provides a brief overview of existing research on treatment of insomnia or related problems including initiating, maintaining and awaking for adolescent populations with a focus on improvement of cognitive functioning within this population. The authors discuss existing barriers to research, emphasize the need to expand sleep research to include cognitive functioning outcomes, and inform best practices for treatment in adolescents following COVID-19. Lastly, the authors propose a call to action encouraging more widespread recognition of the need for research in this area.
Key Take Away Points
• 24 out of 735 records identified through databases were screened for eligibility.
• The search and subsequent screening procedures outlined several limitations including a dearth of randomized clinical trials, RCTs assessing effectiveness of behavioral interventions specific to insomnia, adequate selection of cognitive functioning measures, sleep assessment measures and other study designs limitations.
• Only two records remained in the study with CBTi interventions and included objective measures specific for the assessment of insomnia and cognitive functioning.
• The two remaining studies reported changes in their interventions for working memory tasks; however, effect size and other study design limitations were reported.
• Barriers and considerations for the insomnia related symptoms and treatment continues to merit attention due to its impact for learning in adolescent population.
Leonell Torres-Pagan is a licensed clinical psychologist for New York State. Dr. Torres-Pagan, have held academic and clinical positions in several institutions for New York City. Dr. Torres-Pagan currently works for private practice and continues to support other academic and scholarly endeavors focusing on clinical interventions, men, adolescents and issues of health disparities experienced by underserved communities. Angelica Terepka is a licensed clinical psychologist for New York State. Dr. Terepka works for private practice, holds adjunct faculty positions at several academic institutions and currently serves as the director of Psychology at Elmhurst Hospital, affiliated with Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Scholarly work from Dr. Terepka included children and adolescents’ interventions, and with diverse populations, particularly with LGBTQIA+ and religious populations. Renata Vaysman is a licensed clinical psychologist for New York State. Dr. Vaysman works for private practice and holds a position for NYC Family Court Mental Health Services. Most of Dr. Vaysman scholarly and practice work focused on children and adolescent wellbeing and psychological assessment. Nicole M. Velez-Agosto is a licensed clinical psychologist for the state of Texas. Dr. Nicole M. Velez Agosto holds a clinical position at the UTRGV Psychology Clinic from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, where she supervises, mentor and teach doctoral students. Scholarly work centers on human development in children and adolescents, education and qualitative research. John Usseglio is a an informationist for Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Scholarly work focused on systematic reviews, evidence-based practice and clinical research support. Ari Shechter is an assistant professor of Medical Sciences for the Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health Department of Medicine at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York. Dr. Schechter ’s scholarly work has focused in interdisciplinary research aiming to clarify the bio-behavioral pathways by which sleep and circadian rhythms influence health and well-being.
Funding: The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. Declaration of Conflicting Interests: The author(s) declared no potential conflict of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. Footnote: Corresponding author was no longer affiliated with academic institution at the moment of acceptance for this article.
Torres-Pagan, Leonell; Terepka, Angelica; Vaysman, Renata; Velez-Agosto, Nicole M.; Usseglio, John; and Shechter, Ari
"Adolescent Sleep Behavioral Interventions and Opportunities to Improve Cognitive Functioning: A Call for Action,"
Journal of Applied Research on Children: Informing Policy for Children at Risk: Vol. 13:
1, Article 4.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/childrenatrisk/vol13/iss1/4