World Sleep Day: Digital programme hopes to improve sleep for tired Londoners

A free digital medicine programme is hoping to help tired Londoners get a good night’s rest.

Over 8 million Londoners can now access the digital programme Sleepio, which is designed to help resolve persistent sleep troubles and is marketed as an alternative to sleeping pills.

The programme is offered as part of London’s NHS digital wellbeing service, Good Thinking. The Good Thinking service is aimed at people in London experiencing mental health difficulties and includes a range of programmes aimed to improve peoples’ wellbeing.

Research by the Good Thinking team highlighted poor sleep as an unmet need for Londoners, and an early warning sign for mental health difficulties. Sleepio was selected to join the programme because its cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) based programme has been tested in eight randomised controlled trials (RCTs) on the NHS.

Sleepio is designed to help people overcome the persistent sleep troubles that often keep them awake. CBT is recommended as the first line treatment for chronic insomnia, but in-person therapy is rarely on the NHS.

Professor Colin Espie, Sleepio co-founder said: “Most people who seek help with insomnia do so because of its negative impact on their daytime quality of life. Sleepio’s new form of ‘digital therapeutic’ is a powerful way to help millions of people across London not only get the improved sleep they’re seeking, but also achieve better mental and physical wellbeing as a result.”

NHS England London medical director Dr Vin Diwakar said: “Digital technology gives us a real opportunity to place the tools many people could benefit from to improve their own wellbeing day to day in their pockets and in their own homes. Clinically proven digital treatments such as Sleepio being offered on the NHS in London via Good Thinking is a great example of the sorts of things we need to see in a modern NHS that places the patient needs at the heart of everything we do, ensuring we design the service around what is appropriate for patients, and efficient for the NHS.”

Dr Richard Graham, consultant psychiatrist and clinical lead for Good Thinking, said: “Problems sleeping and poor sleep quality are incredibly common, yet most people don’t know what they could do to improve their sleep. Poor sleep is a mental and physical health problem, capable of causing terrible distress and lasting poor health consequences. At Good Thinking we’re aiming to better understand this hidden epidemic and offer Londoners the resources they need to make lasting changes that will improve how they feel every day, and every night.”

Reece Armstrong is a reporter for Digital Health Age. Coming from the North East of England, Reece has an MA in Media & Journalism and a BA in Popular & Contemporary Music from Newcastle University. Reach him on Twitter or email via:

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