NEW research reveals that a digital sleep aid not only treats insomnia, but also alleviates symptoms of depression and anxiety. Katie Wright looks at the apps that can boost your mental health
Thousands of apps claim to have a transformative effect on our lives, but few have data like this to back up their assertions: a study published in the Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy Journal has found that 68% of patients suffering mild or moderate depression and anxiety moved towards recovery after using insomnia treatment app Sleepio.
The research was conducted by NHS service Self Help Manchester, where the digital cognitive behavioural therapy programme was administered to 98 patients along with six support calls from an eTherapy coordinator.
Assessments showed that symptoms of depression and anxiety were reduced following the six-week course – on average, 60 to 70% of sufferers also experience insomnia – and the 68% recovery rate outstripped the NHS average of 45%
“Sleepio empowers patients to overcome their poor sleep by providing personalised, evidence-based CBT techniques and support,” explains Peter Hames, NHS Innovation Fellow and co-founder of Big Health, which makes the app. “Whilst the link between insomnia and depression and anxiety is well documented, it’s incredible to see a digital solution designed to manage insomnia having such a marked effect on patients’ anxiety and depression symptoms too. These results raise the exciting prospect of using sleep as a de-stigmatised ‘way in’ to help the millions with anxiety and depression who don’t currently seek help.”
Whether you want to improve your mental health or just your sleep patterns, there are lots of apps to choose from.