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Could a £45 AI sleep app really fix your insomnia?

Written by Amy Beecham

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has endorsed the benefits of sleep tech app Sleepio. But how does it work?

As many as 16 million UK adults are suffering from sleepless nights as a third (31%) say they have insomnia. However, a new artificial intelligence sleep app has been developed that might be able to replace sleeping pills for insomnia sufferers.

Sleepio uses an AI algorithm to provide individuals with tailored cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) via a digital six-week self-help programme involving a sleep test, weekly interactive CBT-I sessions and keeping a diary about sleeping patterns.

The app comes at a cost of £45 (excluding VAT) per person, with the programme designed to be completed in six weeks however people have full access to the programme for 12 months from registration.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) says up to 800,000 people could benefit from using Sleepio in England, which would save the NHS money as well as reduce prescriptions of medicines such as zolpidem and zopiclone, which can be dependency forming.

On its website, Sleepio claims that using the app can lead to a 54% reduction in time to fall asleep, 62% fewer awakenings during the night and a 58% boost in daytime energy and concentration.

As it explains, Sleepio addresses unique needs with a personalised program, featuring sessions with step-by-step guidance through evidence-based techniques. In about 20 minutes per week, the app suggests, individuals can quiet their racing minds, reshape behaviors, and get better sleep.

Artificial Intelligence sleep app may mean an end to sleeping pills for insomniacs

Sleepio sessions focus on identifying thoughts, feelings and behaviours that contribute to the symptoms of insomnia. Cognitive interventions aim to improve the way a person thinks about sleep and the behavioural interventions aim to promote a healthy sleep routine.

And it really seems to work. Clinical evidence recently presented to Nice’s medical technologies advisory committee from 12 randomised controlled trials showed Sleepio to be more effective at reducing insomnia than sleep hygiene and sleeping pills.

According to Nice: “The evidence has shown using Sleepio reduces the number of GP appointments people with insomnia need and will also cut the number of prescriptions for sleeping pills delivered by pharmacists.”

How to use Sleepio

If your interest is piqued, Sleepio invites you to first take its onboarding test to find out your “sleep score” and highlight any key issues, such as light sensitivity or snoring.

Notably, Sleepio is currently only available to NHS patients in Scotland and North Hampshire, however will soon be expanding to other areas.

Sleepio’s waiting list can joined here.

Images: Getty

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