Information for Health Professionals

Download this as a PDF

What is Sleepio?

Sleepio is a six-session sleep improvement program, created by Professor Colin Espie and featuring proven Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques. Under controlled conditions it has been shown to help people with even long-term sleep problems fall asleep, stay asleep and feel better during the day – without the need for sleeping pills.

What does the Sleepio program involve?

The program begins with an in-depth sleep questionnaire, featuring a number of standardized clinical measures. This provides us with everything we need to tailor the program to each user.

Then, once a week, the user logs on to to visit their virtual sleep expert ‘The Prof’. He guides them through an interactive 20min session and presents tailored CBT techniques for them to follow, personalized to their specific problems and progress.

Between sessions the user records their sleep with the easy-to-use online sleep diary, and puts the techniques they learn into practice with the help of online tools the Prof unlocks for them.

Support is provided by the anonymous and secure online community of other people on the course and ‘Graduates’ who’ve been through the program.

Throughout the program the user is in control – they can pace the sessions as they wish, and are left with a ‘toolbox’ of techniques for them to implement as they find most useful to them.

What’s the evidence that Sleepio works?

The Sleepio program has been tested to the highest standards of clinical evidence, in a placebo-group Randomized Controlled Trial. The trial paper was published in leading peer- reviewed journal SLEEP in June 2012, and reports that Sleepio can help poor sleepers:

  • Fall asleep up to 50% faster
  • Reduce nighttime awakenings by up to 60%
  • Boost daytime energy and concentration by up to 50%
  • Achieve a more reliable sleep pattern

The Lancet published a commentary on the clinical trial, and called it “a proven intervention for sleep disorders using the internet...from www to zzz.”

You can view the abstract of the trial paper as published in SLEEP here:

Who is Sleepio suitable for?

Sleepio can help those with persistent problems falling asleep, staying asleep through the night or waking up early. In order for the program to be effective it requires commitment and effort over a number of weeks, so participants need to be prepared and willing to put that effort in.

The Sleepio course isn’t suitable for pregnant women, children, shift workers, those who suffer from excessive sleepiness during the day, or those with unstable mental or physical health. Sleepio is not a substitute for professional medical advice, and anyone at all unsure about starting the course, or those with a pre-existing medical condition or taking medication should seek advice from their doctor before starting the Sleepio program.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy normally delivered ‘face-to-face’ is recommended by the NICE as the first-choice treatment for a range of problems, including depression and anxiety. Over 100 clinical trials have shown it to be effective in helping problems including insomnia, and it leaves participants with a range of practical techniques they can use forever.

How can I give Sleepio to my patients?

In the US, Sleepio is now available as a covered benefit by many large employers and health plans. If your patient is not covered by their employer, they can start by visiting and taking the free sleep test. There are also opportunities to sign up for research projects at no cost.

In the UK, Sleepio access is covered by NHS projects in London and the Thames Valley, and we are working to expand access across the country. If you would like to find out more about free access for NHS patients, please contact

What are the technical requirements?

Sleepio is designed to be as simple and user-friendly as possible. All you need to follow the program is a computer (Mac or PC) connected to broadband internet with a modern web browser.

Any other questions or ideas?

Please email and we’ll do all we can to help.