Date of Award

Summer 7-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



Program Affiliation

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

First Advisor

Joanna Sikkema

Second Advisor

Kris Hendrickx


Background: Disrupted sleep patterns are a common occurrence in those with a diagnosis of a mental health disorder. Unfortunately, many people are often treated for their mental health disorders solely, or prescribed additional medications to manage sleep, leaving sleep management poorly addressed in the clinical setting. There is a growing body of evidence supporting the benefits of integrating mobile applications into psychiatric clinical practice.

Objective: The purpose of this DNP project was to evaluate the benefit of utilizing mobile applications that promote relaxation prior to bedtime, in order to improve overall sleep patterns in patients with a diagnosis of a mental health disorder.

Methodology: Utilizing a random, controlled, experimental design, patients with a diagnosis of a mental health disorder were assigned to evaluate the effectiveness of a 2-week utilization of relaxation mobile applications prior to sleep to enhance sleep time and quality. Subjects were screened utilizing evidence-based sleep screening tools and assigned to a control or experimental group. All study participants in both study groups received basic sleep hygiene information and completed a two-week sleep diary to further identify daily behaviors that may have impacted sleep patterns. The experimental group had the added sleep aid of utilizing a free downloadable, evidence-based high rated relaxation application prior to sleep. Inclusionary criteria were adult mental health clients aged 18-65 who screened positive on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and screened positive for insomnia or psychiatric sleep dysregulation on the Sleep Disorder Questionnaire. Exclusionary criteria included those who screened positive for sleep apnea, sleep movement disorder, parasomnias, circadian rhythm disorder, narcolepsy or those who required treatment with a sleep aide or sedating medication in order to promote sleep.

Results: Data analysis identified statistical significance among the experimental group in the areas of improving hours of sleep, improved subjective reporting of sleep quality, and increased self-management of problematic sleep patterns.

Conclusion: The use of mobile applications to promote relaxation prior to sleep did improve the subjective reporting of improved sleep quality and overall number of hours of sleep. In addition, the experience of using a relaxation promoting mobile application may aid in the self-management of other mental health symptoms, therefore increasing self-efficacy and improving the overall experience of symptoms in clients with a mental health diagnosis. Further clinical studies in this area are suggested.

Included in

Nursing Commons