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BACKGROUND: Effective interventions, targeting key contributory causal factors, are needed to prevent the emergence of severe mental health problems in young people. Insomnia is a common clinical issue that is problematic in its own right but that also leads to the development and persistence of psychotic experiences. The implication is that treating sleep problems may prevent the onset of psychosis. We collected initial case series data with 12 young people at ultra-high-risk of psychosis. Post-intervention, there were improvements in sleep, depression and psychotic experiences. Now we test the feasibility of a randomised controlled trial, with a clinical aim to treat sleep problems and hence reduce depression, psychotic experiences, and prevent transition to psychosis. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: A randomised controlled feasibility trial will be conducted. Forty patients aged 14 to 25 years who are at ultra-high-risk of psychosis and have sleep disturbance will be recruited from National Health Service (NHS) mental health services. Participants will be randomised to receive either a novel, targeted, youth-focussed sleep intervention in addition to usual care or usual care alone. Assessor-blinded assessments will be conducted at baseline, 3 months (post-intervention) and 9 months (follow-up). The eight-session psychological intervention will target the key mechanisms which disrupt sleep: circadian rhythm irregularities, low sleep pressure, and hyperarousal. To gain an in-depth understanding of participants' views on the acceptability of the intervention and study procedures, 16 participants (n=10 intervention, n=6 control) will take part in qualitative interviews. Analyses will focus on feasibility outcomes (recruitment, retention, and treatment uptake rates) and provide initial CI estimates of intervention effects. Thematic analysis of the qualitative interviews will assess the acceptability of the intervention and trial procedures. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The trial has received ethical approval from the NHS Health Research Authority. Findings will be disseminated through peer-reviewed publications, conference presentations, and lay networks. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ISRCTN85601537.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ Open

Publication Date





adult psychiatry, child & adolescent psychiatry, clinical trials, mental health, schizophrenia & psychotic disorders, sleep medicine, Adolescent, Adult, Feasibility Studies, Humans, Prospective Studies, Psychotic Disorders, Quality of Life, Single-Blind Method, Sleep Wake Disorders, State Medicine, Young Adult