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NHS referrals to Sleepstation

Dr Neil Stanley

Dr Neil Stanley

Advisory board member

Good sleep is vital for good mental, physical and emotional health. It helps us deal with stress, improves resilience and optimises our immune system. We must prioritise our sleep. Sleepstation is clinically proven and can resolve insomnia within four sessions.

Digitally delivered, fully supported NHS sleep service

We combine psychology and sleep science with dedicated support to improve sleep for patients with all forms of insomnia. Our expert sleep team deliver remote care with a personal touch.

Sleepstation is a digitally delivered cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia – CBTi. NICE recommends CBTi as the first-line approach for chronic insomnia.

Sleepstation resolves insomnia symptoms and improves quality of life for over 80% of patients who engage with the programme. Our expertise in engagement is what makes Sleepstation so powerful. A recent study has shown Sleepstation to be three times more engaging than unsupported sleep improvement apps.

Sleepstation is an effective solution for insomnia

  • Clinically validated
  • Proven efficacy
  • Few contraindications
  • Benign side-effect profile
  • Evidence based
  • Delivered entirely online
  • Gold-standard approach
  • Fully supported
  • Highly engaging
  • Personalised care
Dr Moulin


Dr Moulin

GP at Amersham Vale Practice

I am grateful for your service. Especially for patients who are suffering from mild and moderate depression. Most of them have sleeping issues but waiting time for therapy is now between four and six months. Referring to Sleepstation helps them wait. This gives me an extra option to make patients feel less abandoned.

It takes two minutes to refer

  1. Download and complete the form below
  2. Email the form to tnu-tr.sleepstation@nhs.net

We’ll handle everything else

Version 21: effective from December 2023

Sleepstation can effectively address all forms of insomnia

In published research, Sleepstation’s CBTi programme produced large improvements across measures of sleep quality. The benefits associated with CBTi persist on completion of treatment, unlike those associated with medication.1 2

CBTi is widely recommended in clinical guidelines as the first-line treatment for insomnia based on extensive evidence of effectiveness for sleep improvement and associated improvements in mental health, wellbeing and quality of life.3 4 5 6 7

CBTi has been shown to be superior to pharmacotherapy in both short and long-term management of insomnia in adults of all ages.3 4

Patients prefer CBTi to medication

Studies examining patients’ acceptance of psychological and pharmacological therapies for insomnia have concluded that patients perceive CBTi as healthier and preferable to taking medications for managing insomnia over the long-term.8 9 10 11

Interestingly, in circumstances where clinicians think CBTi would be helpful, they still mistakenly believe that patients would be reluctant to engage with the programme and would, in fact, prefer a quick medication fix.12

Professor Joe McDonald

Professor Joe McDonald

Medical Director, Consultant Psychiatrist

As a consultant psychiatrist for 30 years it is always tempting to prescribe hypnotics when you are seeing a patient complaining of insomnia but with all the attendant risks of dependence, hangover, road traffic accidents etc. it is usually a mistake. Sleepstation offers an effective and safe alternative to prescribing which has now been used in over half of England’s General Practices.

Sleepstation’s CBTi programme includes all relevant modules plus dedicated human support:

  • Stimulus control therapy
  • Sleep restriction therapy
  • Cognitive therapy
  • Relaxation training
  • Sleep hygiene advice
  • Human support

Sleepstation delivers remote care with a personal touch

  • Reduced risk (compared to prescribing hypnotics)
  • No evidence of hangover
  • No evidence of tolerance
  • No evidence of dependency
  • No daytime sedation
  • No negative effect on memory or psychomotor function
  • Easy to access
  • No waiting lists
  • Outcome focussed
  • Long-lasting effects
  • Resolves all types of insomnia (sleep onset, middle of the night and early waking)
  • Proven efficacy in secondary insomnia
  • Preferred by patients

Sleepstation is an effective adjunct to sleeping pill withdrawal

Some GPs inherit patients who’ve been taking sleeping pills for years. Many use Sleepstation as an adjunct to a gradual withdrawal of long-standing, ineffective sleeping pills.

Heather

Heather

72, from Cambridge

I think it’s an excellent programme. I had taken strong sleeping pills for about 15 years before starting on the programme. It’s also an excellent example of how the NHS can use new technologies to offer support to people in what I think is a cost effective way. I am a total fan!

Before Sleepstation

Time asleep 5h 42mins

Time in bed 7h 30mins

After four sessions

Time asleep 7h

Time in bed 7h 35mins

Read more about our results on our success stories page.

Information for referrers PDF

A PDF document providing more information about our service and the patient pathway is available for download and free to share with NHS colleagues.

Sleep medicine training

Our team also provide sleep medicine training for NHS referrers. This training is delivered at no charge to the practice/organisation providing a minimum of five people attend. Training is currently being delivered via webinar. An outline of the training programme is provided below. To register, email training@sleepstation.org.uk

How to recognise and treat sleep problems

  • What is sleep?
  • Why it is important
  • Taking a quick sleep history
  • Common sleep problems and what to do about them
  • Pharmacological treatments for insomnia
  • Non-pharmacological treatments for insomnia

FAQs

The Sleepstation programme is delivered entirely online and is accessed by the patient through their own smart phone, tablet or computer. Patients can access Sleepstation at a time and place of their choosing (home, work, anytime and anywhere) and they do not need to download an app to use Sleepstation.

Sleepstation is a personalised programme tailored to address the individual’s needs and unique circumstances.

The first step in treating insomnia with CBTi is to identify the underlying causes of the insomnia.

The Sleepstation programme begins with a week-long assessment and sleep review. At the end of the review, each patient receives a personalised report containing advice and guidance about next steps.

Most patients will progress to the therapy at this stage. For some patients, the Sleepstation therapy programme may not be deemed appropriate, and those patients will be provided with a full explanation and signposted to other services.

When patients enter therapy, a personalised sleep plan is created for them, based on information collated during their review.

The therapy programme which follows is based around this personalised sleep plan and is delivered via weekly therapy sessions. Through their Sleepstation account, patients also have access to a secure and confidential messaging service, providing them with access to a team of sleep coaches and CBTi therapists throughout.

Sleepstation’s NHS service is fully funded by the NHS in some areas of the UK. In these areas, access to Sleepstation is provided free of charge. Non-NHS patients or those in areas where NHS access is not available can choose to purchase Sleepstation privately.

The Sleepstation service isn’t available on the NHS everywhere. It’s currently available in some parts of the UK only. If you’d like to find out if Sleepstation is available for your patients please email nhs@sleepstation.org.uk.

We only accept online referrals. Completed referrals forms should be sent to tnu-tr.sleepstation@nhs.net You can download a blank referral form here.

With a shortage of practising insomnia specialists within the UK (fewer than 10 specialist centres), patients can wait many months, even years to see someone. This has left GPs and other healthcare providers little option but to recommend alternative, less effective treatments, and revert to hypnotic prescribing.

Technology is rewriting the relationship between patients, professionals and care providers. Patients are taking greater control over their health, and tools for patient empowerment and self-management provide opportunities for patients’ active participation in their care.

Digital healthcare services like Sleepstation can deliver customisable, quality care at a fraction of the cost of existing treatments.

Sleepstation is an effective alternative to hypnotic drugs.

Interestingly in circumstances where clinicians think CBTi would be helpful, they still mistakenly believe that patients would be reluctant to engage with the programme and would, in fact, prefer a quick medication fix.

39% of general practitioners in a UK study indicated that patient demand is the reason they use pharmacological treatments for insomnia. Similarly, a survey of Australian GPs indicated that the most common barriers to using a non-pharmacological treatment for insomnia were patients wanting/expecting medication (31%), followed by noncompliance due to the effort required for non-pharmacological treatment (21%). 49% of Belgian family physicians indicated that they felt it is too difficult to motivate patients for non-pharmacological treatment for insomnia.

However, patients perceive CBTi as healthier and preferable to taking medications for managing insomnia over the long-term.

Sleepstation’s online CBTi programme has been shown to be as effective as clinic based psychological therapy and can effectively resolve even the most chronic insomnia, with long-lasting benefits for the patient and fewer side effects than pharmacological interventions.

Sleepstation can resolve insomnia symptoms and improve quality of life for over 80% of patients who engage with the programme. Further information can be found here.

Insomnia is often seen as a symptom rather than a disorder. In a study with Australian general practitioners, 54% indicated that they initially treat the perceived underlying causes of insomnia, e.g. anxiety, depression, pain, or other conditions. For instance, a survey in primary care settings shows that clinicians believe that insomnia will resolve either sometimes (49%) or often (45%) following treatment of depression and PTSD.

Although insomnia is often linked with other conditions, it’s incorrect to assume that by treating the condition this will necessarily improve sleep. Both the condition and the sleep problems need to be treated effectively and that often means as separate interventions.

Try it yourself

If you work for the NHS and you’re struggling with your sleep, you can try Sleepstation for yourself. A specially adapted version of the Sleepstation programme has been made available free of charge to all NHS staff.

References

  1. Morin CM, Colecchi C, Stone J, Sood R, Brink D. Behavioral and pharmacological therapies for late-life insomnia: a randomized controlled trial. Jama. 1999 Mar 17;281(11):991-9.\  ↩︎
  2. Omvik S, Pallesen S, Havik OE, Kvale G, Nordhus IH. Cognitive behavioral therapy vs zopiclone for treatment of chronic primary insomnia in older adults: a randomized controlled trial. Jama. 2006 Jun 28;295(24):2851-8.\ ↩︎
  3. Alberta Medical Association (2015) Assessment to management of adult insomnia. Clinical practice guideline.\ ↩︎
  4. Sateia MJ, Buysse DJ, Krystal AD, Neubauer DN, Heald JL (2017) Clinical Practice Guideline for the Pharmacologic Treatment of Chronic Insomnia in Adults: An American Academy of Sleep Medicine Clinical Practice Guideline. J Clin Sleep Med 13(2), 307-349.\ ↩︎
  5. Ree M, Junge M, Cunnington D (2017) Australasian Sleep Association position statement regarding the use of psychological/behavioral treatments in the management of insomnia in adults. Sleep Med Suppl 1, S43-S47.  ↩︎
  6. Qaseem A, Kansagara D, Forciea MA, Cooke M, Denberg TD; Clinical Guidelines Committee of the American College of Physicians. (2016) Management of Chronic Insomnia Disorder in Adults: A Clinical Practice Guideline. Ann Intern Med. 165(2), 125-33.  ↩︎
  7. Wilson S, Anderson K, Baldwin D, Dijk DJ, Espie A, Espie C, Gringras P, Krystal A, Nutt D, Selsick H, Sharpley A (2019) British Association for Psychopharmacology consensus statement on evidence-based treatment of insomnia, parasomnias and circadian rhythm disorders: An update. J Psychopharmacol 33(8), 923-947. ↩︎
  8. Morin C, Gaulier B, Barry T, Kowatch R.A, Patients’ Acceptance of Psychological and Pharmacological Therapies for Insomnia, Sleep, Volume 15, Issue 4, July 1992, Pages 302–305.\ ↩︎
  9. Vincent N, Lionberg C. Treatment preference and patient satisfaction in chronic insomnia. Sleep. 2001;24(4):411–417.  ↩︎
  10. Azad N, Byszewski A, Sarazin FF, McLean W, Koziarz P. Hospitalized patients’ preference in the treatment of insomnia: pharmacological versus non-pharmacological. Can J Clin Pharmacol. 2003;10(2):89–92.  ↩︎
  11. Siriwardena AN, Qureshi MZ, Dyas JV, Middleton H, Orner R. Magic bullets for insomnia? Patients’ use and experiences of newer (Z drugs) versus older (benzodiazepine) hypnotics for sleep problems in primary care. Br J Gen Pract. 2008;58(551):417–422. ↩︎
  12. Ulmer CS, Bosworth HB, Beckham JC, et al. Veterans affairs primary care provider perceptions of insomnia treatment. J Clin Sleep Med. 2017;13(8):991–999. ↩︎

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