Research highlights digital therapeutic app helps insomnia and depressive symptoms

New research published in the Journal of Sleep Research has highlighted positive effects of Sleepio a digital therapeutic programme.

Big Health, the company behind the programme, has announced the results of the study to highlight positive effects of their digital sleep improvement programme to make improvements in depressive symptoms.

The study examined the effects of the programme based on cognitive behavioural techniques on insomnia and depressive symptoms. The researchers found the programme improved insomnia symptoms and also depressive symptoms in individuals with insomnia.

The study included 3,352 participants and investigated the effects of Sleepio on physical health and functioning and on mental health. In each case, study participants received digital cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) using Big Health’s Sleepio programme.

The findings highlighted those using Sleepio experienced clinically meaningful and statistically significant reductions in depressive symptoms compared to the control group 8-10 weeks after intervention, with these effects maintained at 22-24 weeks after intervention.

Commenting on the findings, lead researcher and Research Manager at Big Health, Dr Alasdair Henry, said: “Our study suggests that evidence-based digital therapeutics for sleep could be a powerful way to help millions of people not just sleep better, but also improve their depressive symptoms.”

“In clinical studies, Sleepio has repeatedly achieved statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvements in sleep and mental health. Our latest results indicate that Sleepio can be an effective way to help those experiencing insomnia and clinically significant depressive symptoms achieve better outcomes over the long term through evidence-based cognitive and behavioural techniques.”

Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Oxford, Daniel Freeman, added: “Depressive symptoms can be associated with significant stigma, which can prevent people from seeking help. These results show that addressing sleep may be an effective option for improving depressive symptoms, potentially providing a less stigmatised route to addressing broader mental health.”

“Digital programmes like Sleepio overcome many of the barriers associated with accessing other forms of evidence-based care and it certainly increases people’s options. It could help in filling the enormous gap that currently exists in access to mental health care around the globe, and is particularly urgent during the current pandemic, when even access to routine care is disrupted.”