Hear from one of our experts on how Sleepio helps get employees back to great sleep, and in turn, increase productivity.

Anyone who’s ever tried counting sheep knows that visualizing fluffy farm animals jumping over a fence is not a surefire way to cure insomnia. An Oxford University study even found that people with insomnia who count sheep take longer to fall asleep than folks who do nothing. 

So how can employers help their workforce stay well rested and ensure they’re showing up at 100%? Through Sleepio, a digital therapeutic developed by Big Health, which teaches people cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to retrain their brain for lasting results.

For employers who want to help improve employee mental health while boosting worker productivity, it’s worth trying to gain a better understanding of insomnia. Knowing why and how science-backed insomnia treatments work can enable employers to properly assess Sleepio, and effectively communicate the benefit to those who may find it to be the best tool in their benefit box for addressing this condition.

Understanding insomnia and its treatment

“Poor sleep is a typical response to common stressors like financial troubles, work worries, and health concerns,” says Dr. Jen Kanady, Director of Clinical Development at Big Health. “Insomnia is defined as sleep problems that exist at least three nights a week for three months or more with associated daytime complaints or impairment. While acute sleep problems, meaning difficulties of sudden onset that are short term, are sometimes less in our control, it’s usually our thoughts and behaviors, which can be changed, that contribute to sustained sleep difficulties over time.” 

The gold standard in insomnia treatment, meaning the recommended treatment method from the medical community, is cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. CBT is an evidence-based therapy that works by helping people break the cycle of unhelpful thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that cause them to get stuck. There are a number of cognitive and behavioral techniques that may help someone suffering from insomnia. For example, stimulus control, a component of CBT for insomnia, or CBT-I, is a process of strengthening the association a person has with their bed and sleep. In other words, this technique trains the brain to view the bed as a “cue” that it’s time to sleep. This can include doing things like only using your bed for sleep and getting out of bed if unable to fall asleep/return to sleep within 15-20 minutes.   

Dr. Kanady says, “CBT is both cognitive and behavioral. There are exercises such as developing a wind down routine, which can help prepare your brain and body for sleep. Or thought challenger, which teaches individuals to challenge unhelpful thoughts that may be keeping them awake.” 

Delivering CBT at scale

Though CBT is the gold standard, delivering evidence-based therapy to employee populations can be very difficult. Many people fear the stigma associated with mental health and therapy.  Others may not have the time or resources to seek out a therapist, leave work, and pay for quality care. Sleepio can help employers reach those employees. 

“Sleepio offers a way for people to learn strategies taught in face-to-face CBT, but they can be accessed directly from the employee’s phone or computer,” says Dr. Kanady.

Access to Sleepio is easy for employees, and it’s very simple to use. The program begins with a sleep score quiz and a set of questions about the person’s goals. After establishing a clinical baseline for sleep, Sleepio builds a six-week series of 20-minute interactive modules that guide employees through evidence-based treatment methods. 

In addition to incorporating clinically studied therapies into its treatment framework, Sleepio itself has been shown to help people with insomnia. Rather than letting employees spend hours counting sheep, consider expanding their access to a safe and effective, clinical-grade digital treatment for insomnia to help them improve their sleep and feel better overall.

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