Protocol - Your Answers When Needing Sleep in New Brunswick (YAWNS NB)

  • End date
    Mar 15, 2023
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    David Gardner
Updated on 15 June 2022
behavior therapy
sleeping pill
chronic insomnia


New Brunswick has an aging population with Canada's highest rate of sleeping pill use. The rate of long-term (chronic) use among NB seniors is 25%, well in excess of the Canadian average of 10%. The rate of use is higher in women and increases with age, as do risks for serious harms.

Sleeping pills risks are substantial and costly, especially to seniors. Research does not support their long-term use. Risk for falls causing injuries, including hip fractures, is a leading concern. They impair mental and physical functioning resulting in a loss of independence and cause impaired driving and a higher rate of serious crashes. The rate of near-fatal and fatal overdoses from mixing sleeping pills with other drugs is on the rise. Stopping treatment can be difficult due to physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms.

Cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBTi) is recommended as the first-line treatment of chronic insomnia. Sleeping pills are only to be considered when CBTi fails. However, these recommendations are not reflected in primary care practice.

Internationally, many educational interventions targeting prescribers have been tried, yet have failed to reduce sleeping pill use. However, a 12-page pamphlet (EMPOWER) given directly to seniors in a clinical trial was associated with a large reduction in sleeping pill use. Using a similarly persuasive approach, Sleepwell ( was developed to reduce the use of sleeping pills and facilitate CBTi access and use. Sleepwell differs from EMPOWER by providing specific information and recommendations regarding CBTi in addition to guidance on how to stop sleeping pills.

This study will evaluate the effectiveness of direct-to-patient interventions on long-term sleeping pill use.


The investigators are proposing to investigate direct-to-patient health promotion interventions that promote sleeping pill dose reduction and treatment discontinuation by enhancing self-efficacy through various behaviour change techniques embedded in printed information provided to patients. Seniors will be invited to participate via direct telephone contact, information sharing through seniors' organizations, education sessions for seniors, and public notices. Prospective participants will be given the option of which way they would like to participate in the research:

Option 1: full participation including baseline interview, 6-month interview, and access to specific data from the participant's personal health record); Option 2: limited participation to baseline and 6-month interviews only; and Option 3: limited participation to baseline interview and access to specific data from the participant's personal health record.

This will form two sets of participants; those who do and those who do not permit access to outcomes from their personal health record. Participants that select Options 1 or 3 will consent to their medication and health resources use being assessed objectively over a six month period. Participants that choose Options 1 or 2 will directly provide baseline information about their health, medication use, and use of health resources via communications with researchers. Similar information will be collected directly from participants in this group after six months.

Random group allocation:

Options 1 and 2: i) Sleepwell package; ii) Empower package; iii) No package Option 3: i) Sleepwell package; ii) No package

The investigators will compare the rates of reducing and stopping sleeping pill use among the different groups over 6 months. Safety outcomes including falls and hospital visits will be measured. The investigators will also track participant access to online CBTi resources using Google Analytics.

Encouraging results from this study of direct-to-patient health promotion regarding insomnia management and sleeping pill use can be utilized repeatedly over time to reach all individuals who could benefit from the intervention, leading a transformational change in insomnia management.

Condition Insomnia Chronic
Treatment EMPOWER, Sleepwell
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04406103
SponsorDavid Gardner
Last Modified on15 June 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

residents of New Brunswick, Canada
age 65 or older
English speaking
community dwelling with no anticipated change of address for the next 6 months
current user of BZRAs (3 or more bedtime doses in previous 7 days)
long-term user of BZRA: use 3 months or longer
BZRA indication: insomnia

Exclusion Criteria

using non-BZRA sedative-hypnotics for treating insomnia or related sleep problems (e.g., trazodone, quetiapine, tricyclic antidepressant, mirtazapine, melatonin, diphenhydramine, dimenhyrdinate)
use of alcohol or cannabis 3 or more nights a week for sleep problems
diagnosis of other sleep disorders: sleep terrors, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, narcolepsy, sleepwalking
severe anxiety disorder
obsessive compulsive disorder
severe cognitive impairment
seizure disorder
spinal injury
chronic psychotic disorder (e.g., schizophrenia)
bipolar disorder
receiving palliative care
living in a Long Term Care facility
Clear my responses

How to participate?

Step 1 Connect with a study center
What happens next?
  • You can expect the study team to contact you via email or phone in the next few days.
  • Sign up as volunteer to help accelerate the development of new treatments and to get notified about similar trials.

You are contacting

Investigator Avatar

Primary Contact



Additional screening procedures may be conducted by the study team before you can be confirmed eligible to participate.

Learn more

If you are confirmed eligible after full screening, you will be required to understand and sign the informed consent if you decide to enroll in the study. Once enrolled you may be asked to make scheduled visits over a period of time.

Learn more

Complete your scheduled study participation activities and then you are done. You may receive summary of study results if provided by the sponsor.

Learn more

Similar trials to consider


Browse trials for

Not finding what you're looking for?

Every year hundreds of thousands of volunteers step forward to participate in research. Sign up as a volunteer and receive email notifications when clinical trials are posted in the medical category of interest to you.

Sign up as volunteer

user name

Added by • 



Reply by • Private

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur, adipisicing elit. Ipsa vel nobis alias. Quae eveniet velit voluptate quo doloribus maxime et dicta in sequi, corporis quod. Ea, dolor eius? Dolore, vel!

  The passcode will expire in None.

No annotations made yet

Add a private note
  • abc Select a piece of text from the left.
  • Add notes visible only to you.
  • Send it to people through a passcode protected link.
Add a private note