Teaching people to sleep via the internet

By June 26, 2013 Press release, Trial No Comments
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  • 1 in 10 Australians report problems with falling, or staying, asleep
  • Insomnia is both a cause and a symptom of common mental health conditions
  • The ‘Good Night Study’ is a world-first trial of an online insomnia treatment called ‘SHUTi’

Treatment for poor sleep is often based around medication. Research has proven that cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a highly effective alternative but traditionally, this requires face-to-face specialist treatment.

SleepThe “Good Night Study” led by Professor Helen Christensen at the Black Dog Institute in partnership with researchers at the Australian National University, is making CBT treatment for sleep problems accessible to anyone by taking it online.

“Psychological internet inventions are extremely useful for people who don’t have the time or money to access face to face treatment. It’s also beneficial for those who aren’t able to attend clinics due to geographical isolation or illness.”

“We’ve consistently shown online interventions to be as effective as clinical consultations for other mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.”

“Preliminary trials have shown that online programs can significantly improve sleep quality in the general population.”

The study uses a web-based program called SHUTi (Sleep Healthy Using The Internet), and the program enables users to identify and monitor sleep patterns whilst receiving feedback tailored to their input.

Dr John Gosling, Research Fellow at the Australian National University says preliminary results have shown SHUTi to be effective.

“The SHUTi online program provides a combination of sleep hygiene and CBT techniques to target unhelpful thoughts and behaviours, and is personalised so people can track their progress and see where they most need help.”

“It’s confidential and self-directed, but also personalised to the information provided by each user, meaning people don’t just receive short-term relief, they teach themselves how to fix their sleep problems in the long-term”.

The “Good Night Study” is currently recruiting volunteers at https://goodnight.anu.edu.au/new_user/info or via www.blackdoginstitute.org.au

Media contact
Gayle McNaught 0401 625 905 or g.mcnaught@blackdog.org.au