As long as if I remember correctly, I had a hard time falling asleep at night. Like many people, I struggle with intrusive thoughts and find it difficult to disconnect. Bedtime triggers conversation reruns, worries about my kids, or my reel of social blunders and embarrassing blunders. Early awakenings, hungry cats, chirping birds, and an insistent bladder all played a role in my insomnia. Whatever the cause, burning the candle at both ends stresses me out, anxious, and desperate.
This is how I got to Sleepio, a six-week digital course that uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to overcome sleep issues, developed by Colin Espie, professor of sleep medicine at the University of Oxford. Great Health co-founder Peter Hames struggled with chronic insomnia but found success with CBT techniques after reading one of Espie’s books. The two then teamed up to develop Sleepio to bring evidence-based cognitive behavioral techniques to the sleep deprived masses.
I’m happy to say it worked for me. For the first time in years, I sleep regularly for seven hours.
Far too many people are receiving less than the seven hours per night recommended for adults. Sleep disturbances come in many forms, but more than a third of adults in the United States suffer from occasional symptoms of insomnia, and one in 10 suffers from a chronic illness, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Treatment generally falls into two camps; pharmacological or CBT mentioned above.
“Some clinical trials have compared the two and the results are really amazing,” says Rebecca Robbins, sleep scientist in the Division of Sleep and Circadian Rhythm Disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. “We see that the behavioral component does as well if not better than the pharmacological treatment.”
Medications have side effects and often mask symptoms rather than getting to the root of the problem. For the record, the meds leave me uncomfortably groggy in the morning and don’t do much for the quality of my writing. The two National Institute for Health and Excellence in Care and the American College of Physicians now prefer non-drug therapies, including behavioral therapies, as the first-line treatment for insomnia.
I’ve also tried several gadgets and sleep apps which promise a good night’s sleep without much success. It’s hard to figure out what will work and how to choose with such a bewildering array of options.
“The market can be a kind of Wild West, because not everything has been developed with the scientific literature in mind,” says Robbins. “To sift through noise as a consumer, take a look at the products and see if they’ve been tested in a clinical trial or if they’ve been developed in partnership with anyone with a background in sleep science or human medicine. sleep.”
One of the conditions that Espie agreed to help develop Sleepio was a randomized, placebo-controlled trial, like this one, to test the effectiveness and security of the software before its release. In 12 trials, with over 9,000 participants, Sleepio was shown to help people fall asleep 54% faster, spend 62% less time awake at night, and function 45% better the next day.