Reviewer: Peter Ou, GP, FRNZCGP
Date of review: May 2021
Comments: Sleepio is an interactive and easy-to-use app that helps users who struggle with sleep. Sleepio starts with a short sleep test which generates a sleep efficiency score. Free users can use the sleep diary function. Paid subscribers have access to additional features including brief sleep interventions if unable to fall asleep and a 6 week video CBT therapy. Through these users can gain insight into their sleep patters, learn about the factors that influence their sleep, track their sleep and learning strategies to help them improve the quality and duration of their sleep. The CBT techniques are personalised to the user's specific issues and progress, and aim to address user's daily schedule, lifestyle and thoughts on their sleep.
Overall, the app and its contents are well delivered but the subscription required for the bulk of the app's features is costly.
Safety concerns: None.
New Zealand relevance: Yes, relevant to a New Zealand audience.
Reviewer: Jeremy Steinberg, GP, FRNZCGP
Date of review: May 2019
Comments: This is a very high-quality evidence-based therapeutic programme for people with insomnia. The bulk of the content is available in their 6-week programme with one 20-minute interactive session being unlocked per week.
The main tool that the course uses is sleep compression/restriction therapy, which has a very strong evidence base for treating insomnia. It is the most effective strategy for treating insomnia, but it can also be difficult. The course calls it the “surgical option”.
With sleep restriction the course advises you to cut down your total time in bed in order to consolidate your restful REM sleep. It then monitors your sleep efficiency (total time asleep as a proportion of time in bed, eg, 10 hours in bed but only 5 hours of sleep is an efficiency of 50%) and if your efficiency remains high it advises you lengthen your time in bed and vice versa.
The programme also covers in good detail other commonly used strategies for insomnia such as sleep hygiene, progressive muscle relaxation, sleep stimulus control, evening routines, mindfulness and cognitive behavioural techniques.
After the completion of the 6-week course, you can continue tracking your sleep and adjusting your bedtime according to your sleep efficiency.
Safety concerns: None.
New Zealand relevance: No issues of concern. The narrator has a Welsh accent, but he speaks slowly, and is easy to understand.