Insomnia is a common disorder that the majority of people will experience at some point in their lifetime, but it can cover a whole range of different issues and not just difficulty getting to sleep. These can include broken sleep and even sleeplessness, both of which affect how you feel when you awake in the morning.
Approximately 30% of the population will experience insomnia at some point in their lives, and most do not talk about it due to a lack of knowledge about treatment options, social stigma around visits to a psychologist, or general discomfort with self-reflection. With so many people suffering from insomnia, there are many scientifically-proven methods that help you get over it. Among the more popular ones is Online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). CBT can teach you to let thoughts bounce around your mind without focusing on them. It also teaches you to sleep at regular intervals and not be affected by thoughts of insomnia.
Online CBTi programs are an effective option for people who want to overhaul their lifestyle. The idea is that you can train your mind to stop being too anxious during the day and go off to sleep easily at night. So what is CBTi and how does it work? Online therapy typically falls into two categories, namely replicating traditional therapy online and automated apps.
Option 1 – Contacting a Therapist
The most recognized type of psychotherapy is one-on-one sessions with a therapist where specific goals are worked on. If you’re not able to face a therapist for some reason, don’t worry – you can use online video calling services such as Skype or Facetime to get the help you need on the go. There’s no reason that convenient and accessible therapists should be something unattainable.
A CBTi delivered online has the advantage that it’s tailored to your specific needs or condition. That makes treatment more effective and efficient. The therapist can also talk to you about any doubts or difficulties you are having regarding treatment and adaptations may be made as needed. There is no need to fit travel time into your schedule as appointments can take place during your lunch break or a free 30 minutes at home. You can make an appointment as well as it being appointment-based. people are more likely to complete their treatment plan if they attend the sessions in a group rather than going to the gym alone.
A face-to-face conversation is an important skill that has been studied for years. A recent study by Lancee et al. (2016) has revealed that face-to-face contact during treatment is more beneficial for combatting insomnia than those methods which only serve as a guiding force via email,86.7% of participants reported better sleep after treatment.
Option 2 – Online apps
As the use of smartphones has increased, people are looking for ways to improve their sleep that are convenient and available right on their phones. And that’s no different if it’s traditional or modern. There are a lot of apps that can help you with insomnia. This is as true for online CBT as it is for books on mindfulness.
A study in 2012 by Espie et al. found that people who used automated apps were able to improve their sleeping habits, with two-thirds of the group finding that they slept better when using the apps.
With so many app price points available, it’s hard to know which one you should use. Take a look at the following comparisons of four different apps to help you make the best decision!
CBT-I Coach (Free):
Although originally only applied to soldiers with PTSD, CBT-I eventually found application for other types of sleep disorders.
The app allows you to see if you have a sleep problem, by assessing your sleep patterns. It also gives you a customizable sleep plan. This training includes techniques for calming down and thinking positively about the night ahead. It also includes visual and audio exercises to help embed these skills in your nighttime routine.
There is an information section of the app that will provide you with information about sleep and help you get on the road to recovery. The app also sends reminders so that you remember to start your journey towards better sleep. While there may be other disadvantages or concerns that you have to take into consideration, the security issue should be a huge part of your decision-making process. There is no option to create an account or add a password, which might make it less secure for use in certain situations.
Findings by Kuhn et al. (2016) showed that those who use CBT-I Coach found it easier to adhere to therapy sessions with their therapist and as a result, felt like they got better results.
RESTORE by Cobalt Therapeutics (£99 – £229)
The critically acclaimed Restore by Cobalt Therapeutics is a 5 week, 7-session online CBT course for insomnia that comes with downloadable and printable material to read so they have a better understanding of why they may be having sleep difficulties, and practice exercises designed to help them build good sleep behaviors. Higher-priced packages also include one-on-one coaching sessions with professional support.
Studies have supported and proven Restore’s effectiveness in improving sleep, with over 80% of users reporting at least a significant improvement in their sleep. It is not uncommon to notice an improvement in total sleep time and feeling ready for bed sooner after use, many people who wake up feeling more refreshed do better at their daytime jobs. The same is true of meeting with clients/patients in person, but it can be difficult to follow through on sticking to the plan.
SHUTi ($149 – $249)
SHUTi offers a self-guided CBTi program that is customizable and interactive. It includes a personalized sleep schedule with homework tasks, a progress tracker & personalized reports to help you monitor your sleep behavior. The app has a library of educational materials for users to learn more about the issues that are suggested by the Personal Trainer App. Plus, Connecting this app to your personal fitness devices will also allow you to track your daily activity levels.
Clinical trials have shown users can sleep up to 6.4 hours more per week and continue to see the benefits, including falling asleep easier and waking less, for up minutes or even years.The app does take some time to fully interact with, especially the sleep diary. However, that time seems well worth it given the leads it can provide.
The app Sleepio is the most expensive on this list, but it offers a full 12 months of access and a 100% money-back guarantee. This makes it a worthwhile investment if you’re looking to take control of your sleep. There may be programs that you already pay for which cover the cost of mental health problems. Or it could be as simple as joining a research study to help determine what course of treatment is best for you.”
Sleepio is an app that allows you to input personal needs and goals to then build a program for you. Users will be able to tap into a virtual assistant, The Prof, for help along the way.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published a report that reviews the opinions of patients & health care professionals about different mobile app treatments. It found that despite how difficult it might be for users to keep up with the program, the results are generally good.
Each of these options makes CBTi available on a scale like never before. There have been many studies that show the benefits of online CBT for insomnia and this can lead to better sleep. As with all therapies, please check with your doctor.