Up to 800,000 people could benefit from using Sleepio in England, NICE said. The app provides a digital six-week self-help program involving a sleep test, weekly interactive CBT-I sessions and keeping a diary about sleep patterns.
The institute said that the app-based program, which costs NHS £45 ($56) per person, was more cost effective for the health care system because, based on a year of use, it led to fewer doctor’s appointments and prescriptions of sleeping pills.
“Our rigorous, transparent and evidence-based analysis has found that Sleepio is cost saving for the NHS in primary care compared with sleeping pills and sleep hygiene. It will also reduce people with insomnia’s reliance on dependence forming drugs such as zolpidem and zopiclone,” said Jeanette Kusel, acting director for MedTech and digital at NICE, in a statement.
Twelve randomized controlled trials, the gold standard for medical research, showed that Sleepio is more effective at reducing insomnia than sleep hygiene and sleeping pills, the statement said.
The Sleepio program is designed to be completed in six weeks, but people have full access for 12 months from when they start using the app. This accessibility allows people to complete sessions at their own pace and revisit sessions if they wish, NICE said.
The sessions focus on identifying thoughts, feelings and behavior that contribute to the symptoms of insomnia. Cognitive interventions aim to improve the way a person thinks about sleep and the behavioral interventions are designed to promote a healthy sleep routine.