CBT-I Coach is a useful mobile app designed to support Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia work with your patients. This app is well designed providing several key components: sleep and insomnia psycho-education, review of sleep hygiene, relaxation skills, and a sleep diary. This app is fully supportive of stimulus control work, providing a list of activities to keep you awake which the user can select based on personal preferences as well as sleep restriction. Similarly, for sleep restriction, lists of activities for late night (designed to help you relax before returning to bed) are included.
Additional Information and features:
Psychoeducation: Information regarding the purpose of sleep and stages of sleep provide a helpful review of information that the clinician provides in early sessions. A simple overview of sleep regulation is also included in a way that is relatively simple to understand.
Relaxation skills: This app provides suggestions on how to “wind down” before bed, suggestions to schedule worry time and some light cognitive restructuring techniques. It includes a brief progressive muscle relaxation exercise as well as several guided imagery exercises.
Sleep Diary: This app includes a sleep diary, calculates sleep efficiency and has a handy reminder option to make sure that your patient completes the assigned sleep diary task.
Assessment: It allows the patient to take the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI), schedule assessments at regular intervals and review ISI scores over time. This app also includes the Sleep Need questionnaire so that the clinician can make better informed decisions about changes in sleep prescription.
Reminders: Many reminders are available including: prescribed bed time, prescribed wake time, assessment reminders and sleep diary data entry. It should also be noted that when total sleep falls below 5 hours, the patient is reminded to speak with their provider about improving sleep and getting assistance.
As a clinician, this app is a great supportive tool to use in conjunction with Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia. It is clearly intended to be supportive of therapy and does not provide enough information to be used as a self-help book. Although a few improvements could be made, it is well-designed with many useful features. Be prepared for patients to note concerns that they cannot email information to you or print out a copy. This concern is not overly concerning as the provider can easily write down the sleep efficiency scores and other summary information as needed.
Privacy Reminder: This information is only as secure as the phone itself. The user is responsible for the safety of the information contained in the app. Once this information is transferred to the clinician, the clinician is responsible to protect the information obtained from the user in compliance with HIPAA regulations.
CBT-i Coach was a collaborative effort between VA’s National Center for PTSD, Stanford School of Medicine, and DoD’s National Center for Telehealth and Technology. For more on other useful apps, visit the Apps section of our website or check out Dr. Jenna Ermold’s earlier blog entry “Got Apps?”
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Dr. Holly O’Reilly is the CDP’s Lead on Traumatic Stress and Sexual Assault.