Written by Isabelle on September 8, 2020

Digital treatment for insomnia

An online self-help program that helps people sleep better is more effective than the targets for face-to-face psychological therapy, a study involving over 7,000 NHS patients has found.

Sleepio, a six-week digital treatment for insomnia, helped 56% of users beat the condition, whereas the target rate for anxiety disorders generally in NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) services is 50%.

The programme helped people with insomnia gain almost six hours more sleep a week, reduced their use of sleeping pills, and cut the number of times they went to the GP or had to take a day off sick from work. It also helped reduce the anxiety and depression that lay behind many participants’ sleeplessness.

Millions of Britons suffer from insomnia, which is often caused by stress, anxiety or depression. Sleepio volunteers kept a sleep diary, were given a sleep score out of 10, and typically spent 20 to 30 minutes a time following the programme during its six weekly sessions.

Adam said that while he used to be sceptical, the data is overwhelmingly on the side of these types of programs, “increasingly there's evidence that just having a sleep tracker or enrolling in an online program, just that simple act of focussing more on sleep and learning something about yourself and sleep, that alone appears to be of significant benefit and at least can be measured in increases in daily sleep,” he says.

The research found that after completing the course:

  • 70% fewer people suffered from anxiety, and 72% fewer from depression
  • patients used 56% fewer prescription drugs and over the counter remedies to help them sleep
  • there was a 21% fall in sick leave amongst the trial patients

ISS also offers a number of low-cost Fatigue Training Courses, which aim to give you information and strategies to help you manage your sleep and fatigue better.

Blog post written by Isabelle

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