NICE recommends Sleepio app for insomnia

Sleepio is recommended as a cost saving option for treating insomnia and insomnia symptoms in primary care for people who would otherwise be offered sleep hygiene or sleeping pills.

Sleepio app image

For people who may be at higher risk of other sleep disorder conditions, such as in pregnancy, or in people with comorbidities, a medical assessment should be done before referral to Sleepio.

More research or data collection is recommended on Sleepio for people who are eligible for face-to-face cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBT‑I) in primary care. This is because there is limited clinical evidence to show how effective Sleepio is compared with face-to-face CBT‑I. Find out more.

Why NICE made these recommendations

Usual treatment for people with sleep problems is advice about sleep hygiene. Sleeping pills may also be considered if insomnia symptoms are likely to resolve soon. If insomnia symptoms are not likely to resolve soon, best practice is to refer for face-to-face CBT‑I, although its availability in the UK is limited. This clinical pathway is outlined in the British Association for Psychopharmacology (BAP) consensus statement on insomnia. People who may be at higher risk of other sleep disorders including sleep apnoea should have a medical assessment before referral to Sleepio.

Sleepio is a digital self-help programme that includes CBT‑I. It could therefore increase patients’ access to CBT‑I. It also increases the options available to GPs treating insomnia.

Clinical evidence shows that Sleepio reduces insomnia symptoms compared with sleep hygiene and sleeping pills. There is no direct evidence of its effectiveness compared with face-to-face CBT‑I, so further research is recommended in this context.

At a price of £45 per person, Sleepio is cost saving compared with usual treatment in primary care. This is based on an analysis of primary care resource use data before and after Sleepio was introduced in 9 GP practices. Healthcare costs were lower at 1 year, mostly because of fewer GP appointments and sleeping pills prescribed.