Sleeping your way to better mental health

29th January 2015 by Dr. Sophie Bostock

Healthcare Sleepio news


Sleeping your way to better mental health

The Sleepio team were invited to Liverpool yesterday to speak at a psychological therapies masterclass. Dr Sophie Bostock presented a case study from Manchester, where Sleepio is being used to help patients with anxiety and depression.

The event was organised to share best practice across Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services in the North West. IAPT is a national NHS programme set up to deliver evidence-based talking therapies to patients with common mental health disorders.

The evidence

Sleep and mental health are intimately linked. We all know that after a sleepless night we can feel a bit tired and irritable, but most of us can bounce back after a good night’s sleep. People who suffer from chronic sleep problems have more difficulty recognising and managing emotions, and are at double the risk of developing depression.

More than 60% of patients who access IAPT services complain of sleep problems. Dr Bostock explained that while insomnia used to be viewed as a symptom or side effect of mental ill-health, the latest research suggests that sleep is an important target for treatment.

For example, patients with a combination of depression and insomnia are less likely to respond to depression treatment, and more likely to relapse. Several recent studies have found that treating sleep problems with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) in patients with depression can lead to better outcomes than CBT for depression alone.

Sleepio in practice

This evidence inspired a partnership between Sleepio and Manchester Self-Help Services eTherapy team. Self-Help Services started to offer Sleepio to patients in March 2014, as an alternative to more established online CBT programmes.

Patients using Sleepio have shown marked improvements in mental health – beating the government’s targets for IAPT services: 64% of patients referred to Sleepio met recovery criteria, compared with a national average of 46%.

Sleepio case study from Manchester IAPT

Manchester Self-Help Services case study: Improvements in mental wellbeing for Sleepio users

Nick Baldwin, eTherapy Co-ordinator for Manchester Self-Help Services, said at the event,

“The feedback from clients has been really positive. Sleepio users are better able to control their sleep, which has benefits for their mood and their motivation to continue therapy.”

Sleepio has already expanded its work with IAPTs from Self-Help Services in Manchester to Think Positive in Bolton, and iCope in Camden and Islington. For more information, please contact

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