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Using digital medicine to overcome sleep problems

Sleepio is a digital programme that uses cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help people overcome short or long term sleep problems.

Sleepio provides a simple and smart way to help people self-care, improve their wellbeing, and address the root causes of insomnia. The evidence-based digital sleep improvement programme has been selected for the NHS Innovation Accelerator Fellowship, which the Health Innovation Network supports.

Sleep problems affect at least one in three people in the UK at any one time, directly impacting mood, memory, concentration and energy. A further 10% of the population suffers from insomnia, defined as chronic problems falling asleep or staying asleep through the night, which have a debilitating impact on daily life. Insomnia increases the risk of common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. Longer term, it is also linked to physical ill health including hypertension, cognitive decline, diabetes and heart disease.

In 2015 the NHS spent £62m on over 9 million prescriptions for hypnotic drugs, which do not address the root causes of insomnia; more than a million pounds a week. The gold standard long term solution for insomnia is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), but this is rarely available on the NHS.

Sleepio delivers CBT for insomnia in a fully automated, scalable and accessible way. It includes tailored cognitive and behavioural tools and techniques to help users take control of their sleep such as a sleep diary, mindfulness and relaxation techniques, and a supportive online community.

Sleepio has been clinically proven help 68% of patients move towards recovery from anxiety and depression, beating national targets for psychological therapy (50% recovery rate).

Sleepio is offered by several psychological therapies providers in North West England, and has recently been launched by Camden and Islington’s iCope service.  It is also available to 28,000 NHS Employees across three hospital trusts, including Epsom and St Helier NHS Foundation Trust.

Find out more here.