Mobile applications are emerging as an alternative to treating insomnia without medication – News

One-third of the population in Brazil shows signs insomnia or difficulty sleepinga new generation of mobile phone treatment is emerging as an alternative to helping people who want to solve their problem, often without the use of medication.

Recent research by the Instituto do Sono showed that 45% of São Paulo’s residents report insomnia or difficulty sleeping. In addition, 15% have it chronic insomnia.

According to Dalva Poyares, professor of sleep medicine at Unifesp (Federal University of São Paulo) and medical researcher at the Sleep Institute of São Paulo, the adult population insomnia is more common in women.

THE Insomnia has difficulty starting and / or maintaining sleep at night, as well as waking up early in the morning.. Symptoms should appear at least three times a week for at least three months to be considered a chronic illness.

There are several consequences associated with chronic insomnia, such as an increased risk of hypertension, metabolic and cognitive problems, such as impaired long-term memory and reasoning, and symptoms of depression.

anxiety and depression

The teacher explains that insomnia is a disorder that causes long-term stress in individuals and depletes the body. This time, it can help you develop depression.

“People who live with stress, cope with stress and have a lot of problems are more likely to develop depression for a long time,” he added.

already Anxiety disorder appears after a diagnosis of insomnia and can worsen symptoms of the disorder, especially when not properly treated.

Relationships are called complementary disorders that can be caused by the presence of the other. For example, it is common for a person with anxiety to experience insomnia when he or she is unable to sleep in a way that can cause feelings of distress and ends up nervous.

Insomnia can be associated with any health problem, however, people who take more medication and have poorer physical or mental health are more prone to the condition. This does not mean that healthy people cannot develop the disorder. The solution for both groups is to prioritize quality night’s sleep.

One-click treatment

The treatment of insomnia has two main pillars: the drug-free pathway and the drug-using pathway.

If necessary, Medications should be prescribed by a physician using the lowest possible dose and I saw it temporarily depending on the severity of the case.

It is an over-the-counter alternative to medicines with more scientific evidence CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia)which can be done virtually or face-to-face.

Applications aimed at improving the quality of sleep of users use this therapy, which it acts in the re-education of sleep. Components of the procedure include instructions for better sleep, elimination of inappropriate behavior, and cognitive restructuring, for example.

Platforms need to be scientifically validated and offered in a comprehensive way of therapy, not just with relaxation techniques. The researcher points out that these points are essential in order not to aggravate insomnia.

“The problem with unvalued treatments is that they don’t improve insomnia 100%, the person changes their modality and insomnia is perpetuated,” he reported.

Also, according to the expert, CBT can help reduce the need for medication and therefore should be applied responsibly. Apps like SleepUp and Sleep Vigilantes have a growing presence in this market and are responding to this demand.


The SleepUp app is digital therapy Anvisa (National Agency for Health Care), considered medical software. The platform gathers 13,000 users and has a full track record of treating sleep disorders, mostly insomnia, driven by an artificial intelligence, Dr. moon.

The user begins the process by answering seven clinical questionnaires that address sleep quality, insomnia, sleepiness, depression, dysfunctional beliefs, and chronotype (morning, afternoon, or intermediate profile).

From these and the sleep diary that records all of his or her behaviors, the patient understands whether the causes of the disorder are behavioral or cognitive and there is any indication that he or she has a psychiatric illness other than insomnia.

Based on CBT techniques, the app splits the therapy into eight weeks, each referring to the route the user should take. The modules are progressive and, for example, use methods that change sleep hygiene and dysfunctional thinking.

“We’re starting to think that other feelings can change completely, that’s the essence of TCC-i,” said Renata Redondo Bonaldi, co-founder and CEO of SleepUp.

The app combines with MBCTi (mindfulness-based cognitive-behavioral therapy insomnia), which is a mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. The trait treats and calms thoughts that hinder sleep.

SleepUp also uses telemedicine and provides sleep professionals to humanize and complement the therapeutic journey.

With more than half of users taking sleeping pills, the platform has a medication diary to track their impact on sleep measurements.

“We conducted a study to understand how well our psychotherapy improves the effectiveness and safety of sleeping pills, and found that we significantly improved sleep efficiency, sleep hygiene, and insomnia rates, three very important measurements. and sleep efficiency by 13 percentage points, ”said the CEO.

In collaboration with Samsung Health and Google Fit, the platform also receives biometric signals such as footsteps and heart rate, and along with clinical trials and a sleep diary, marks the most effective therapeutic journey for each user.

The app has three plans: one free and two paid.

sleep monitors

Another app with similar features is Sleep Watch. His goal is to get people to sleep better, sleep faster, wake up less at night, and feel more energized the next day.

The platform also digitized the TCC so that anyone could do it at the right time. The program, in addition to being a sleep diary, is divided into 5 to 10 minute interviews, five or six times a week with artificial intelligence, Dr. Sonia.

“Sônia, our artificial intelligence, is very intelligent. Depending on what you answer, it will get you into the conversation that is most interesting to you, and it’s very empathetic, ”said Lucas Baraças Figueiredo, CEO and co-founder of Vigilantes do Sono.

All processes are based on scientific articles, available for reading throughout the treatment. By integrating with the Apple Health app, it also collects biometric data from Apple smartwatch users.

One can follow the evolution of one’s situation and evaluate the most effective techniques through a sleep monitor. In addition, there is an opportunity for specialist professionals to monitor cases on the platform.

The developer of Sleep Vigilantes says the platform has already been used by 50,000 people.

In addition to these relationships, the app combines objective data, such as how many times the user has woken up, with subjective data (such as willingness to wake up) to measure the effectiveness of their methods.

“People who do our program for the first two weeks can reduce their bedtime by 27 minutes, a time when you can’t sleep. Increases total sleep time by 17 minutes. People who stayed in the program for up to seven weeks reduced their total bed time by an average of 74 minutes and increased their sleep time by 59 minutes, ”Baraças said.

The app is paid, but has a free trial period

What’s next?

Even in the face of the potential benefits that applications already offer, innovations don’t stop there. The founder of SleepUp added that the company is patenting the development of a portable electroencephalogram band. The algorithm is ready and the hardware structuring is in the final stages.

Creation will allow us to detect brain signals and thus study the phases of sleep. Based on this recognition, the application will be able to find out, for example, whether the medication used by the user is collaborating with the sleep architecture.

A procedure that could only be found in sleep clinics, through a polysomnography, will be available for use at home.

“The proposal is to integrate this monitoring of brain signals into digital therapy, with clinical validation,” added Renata.

The co-founder of Vigilantes do Sono says the app will soon be rolled out to address emotional health issues as well. In addition, from now on, the initiative will focus on health professionals directly in the application.

Along with these innovations, the program approved a project by Fapesp (Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo) to develop a technology through the Pipe program (Innovative Research in Small Businesses). is able to catch sleep apnea – a little-diagnosed disease that requires invasive screening – with only mobile devices.

Baraças believes the tool may be available next year.

“It is an innovative project worldwide and is based on doctoral theses that predict that you still have some anthropometric measurement data. [tamanho do seu pescoço, da língua ou distância entre os olhos]We were able to announce with greater assertiveness whether you had apnea or not, ”he said.

* Fellow at R7 Directed by Fernando Mellis

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