Intensive sleep retraining treatment for insomnia administered by smartphone in the home: an uncontrolled pilot study

Andrew Mair, Hannah Scott, Leon Lack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


STUDY OBJECTIVES: Intensive sleep retraining (ISR) is a behavioral treatment that involves a patient falling asleep repeatedly over 1 treatment session (< 24 hours in duration) to treat sleep-onset insomnia. ISR relies on high homeostatic sleep and circadian rhythm drives to facilitate rapid sleep onsets overnight. The high cost and inaccessibility of laboratory-based ISR is a significant practical barrier to treatment uptake. Smartphone-delivered ISR offers a significantly more affordable, flexible, and efficient method to treat chronic insomnia. The present study is the first trial of ISR administered via smartphone in the home environment.

METHODS: Smartphone-delivered ISR was investigated with 12 individuals with chronic insomnia (9 women, 3 men, aged 49.75 ± 7.71 years) using a single-group, repeated-measures, case-replication series design. Participants received a single overnight session of home-based ISR treatment administered by smartphone. Sleep onset trials started at 23:00 and concluded after 40 trials or at 11:00 the following morning, whichever occurred first. Sleep diary and psychological variables associated with insomnia were measured at pretreatment, post-treatment, and 4- and 7-week follow-up.

RESULTS: Significant improvements with moderate to strong effects (d = 0.59-1.94) were indicated for sleep-onset latency, sleep efficiency, insomnia symptom severity, sleep self-efficacy, anticipatory sleep anxiety, dysfunctional beliefs about sleep, and daytime fatigue and functioning compared to baseline. Therapeutic benefits were largely maintained at the 7-week follow up.

CONCLUSIONS: This pilot study suggests that ISR may be feasibly administered via smartphone in the home. With fewer trials and a shorter treatment session, smartphone-delivered ISR seemed to achieve similar outcomes to the earlier laboratory-based ISR procedure. Randomized controlled trials are warranted to investigate the efficacy of smartphone-administered ISR

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1515-1522
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of clinical sleep medicine : JCSM : official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022


  • behavioral treatment
  • chronic insomnia
  • classical conditioning
  • consumer sleep technology
  • intensive sleep retraining


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