Sleepio

An online 6-week sleep improvement programme with a particular focus on sleep compression/restriction therapy.

Sleepio By Big Health Ltd
  • Sleep assessment questionnaire
  • Goals setting
  • Build an individualised programme  
  • CBT lessons
Clinical review
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Security and privacy Does the app:
  • collect medical information: Yes
  • require a login: Yes
  • have a password: Yes
  • have a privacy policy: Yes
  • requires internet access to use: Yes     
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How to get the app Website           iTunes 

At the time of writing, the app is not freely available to people living in New Zealand. Instead, the program is only available through a research programme which you can apply for on the website. The programme authors advised us that this can take up to 8 weeks to get an invitation. It is freely available for those that sign up with a London or Thames Valley postcode. 

What does the Sleepio programme do?

Sleepio is an online sleep improvement programme, to help people with insomnia (for people who has difficulty getting to sleep or sleeping through the night). The programme is based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Users will learn techniques and behavioural strategies to help reset sleeping patterns naturally, without relying on sleeping pills. Users are encouraged to complete the Sleepio course online at a time and pace that suits them. Each week users log in and meet "The Prof", their virtual sleep expert. The Prof helps users address their thoughts and worries about sleep, their daily schedule, lifestyle and bedroom. Each session takes 20 to 30 minutes. There are 6 core sessions, and a daily sleep diary which helps users track their progress. 

Note: users only get the full experience by viewing the course on their web browser. There is an app for apple iOS which has most of the content (but not all). There is no android app.

For the complete programme description, go to the website.

PROS CONS 

✔ Developed by sleep experts and it has been validated in four controlled trials 1, 2, 3, 4.

✔ Starts with a comprehensive questionnaire about your sleeping patterns, thoughts, feelings, and goals. It then uses this data to personalise your programme.

✔ Six-week course covering sleep hygiene, progressive muscle relaxation, sleep stimulus control, evening routines, cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness and sleep compression/restriction therapy.

✔ The sessions are interactive with the content being presented by an animated therapist and his dog. There are quizzes at the end to check comprehension. You can easily revisit each session or view the content in written form.

✔ Reminders by email to complete the week’s session.

✔ Detailed sleep diary which tracks sleep efficiency, and your personal goals. It uses this data each week to help you choose a new sleep window for the following week.

✔ Schedule your day and evening with the algorithm’s help (set time for finishing work, relaxation, pre-bed tasks and bed-time)

✔ To Do list (for your schedule, bedroom, lifestyle and thoughts)

✔ High quality articles in the library section on a range of topics as they relate to sleep such as antidepressants, menopause, snoring, shift work, and melatonin.

✔ Three guided relaxation audio files on progressive relaxation, imagery and autogenic training.

✔ Community section

✔ Link to smart devices (Up and fitbit)

✘  At the time of writing, in New Zealand, the program is only available through a research programme which you can apply for on the website. The programme authors advised us that this can take up to 8 weeks to get an invitation. It is freely available for those that sign up with a London or Thames Valley postcode.

✘ You only get the full experience by viewing the course on your web browser. There is an app for apple iOS which has most of the content (but not all). There is no android app.

✘ The web browser version was a little buggy. It would occasionally freeze during the sessions, but it saves your progress.

Review details

Date of review: May 2019
Platform reviewed: Apple
Version: 1.8.10
Download size: 106.5 MB
Last updated: 3/12/2018 

References

  1. Espie CA, Kyle SD, Williams C, et al. A randomized, placebo-controlled trial of online cognitive behavioral therapy for chronic insomnia disorder delivered via an automated media-rich web application. Sleep. 2012 Jun 1;35(6):769-81.
  2. Bostock S, Luik AI, Espie CA. Sleep and Productivity Benefits of Digital Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia: A Randomized Controlled Trial Conducted in the Workplace Environment. J Occup Environ Med. 2016 Jul;58(7):683-9.
  3. Barnes CM, Miller JA, Bostock S. Helping employees sleep well: Effects of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia on work outcomes. J Appl Psychol. 2017 Jan;102(1):104-113.
  4. Freeman D, Sheaves B, Goodwin GM, et al. The effects of improving sleep on mental health (OASIS): a randomised controlled trial with mediation analysis. Lancet Psychiatry. 2017 Oct;4(10):749-758. 

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