The Woolcock Institute of Medical Research

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SleepFix - app-based treatment for older people with insomnia

Tuesday, November 07, 2023

Chronic insomnia affects approximately 10% of Australian adults and is a significant health problem commonly affecting older people which is often under-recognised and under-treated. 

While sleep medications can be effective in helping people sleep in the short term, they come with side effects. SleepFix is an innovative app-based treatment offering a medication-free alternative. 

Study lead Associate Professor Christopher Gordon says “We know that older people have more fragmented sleep, which means they are prone to napping during the day. Sleep medications can help people sleep, but we know they have a long list of side effects, like increasing the risk of falls.” 

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The SleepFix app aims to bridge this gap, building on its success in younger adults and now undergoing a trial in those over 60 years of age.

The app employs sleep restriction techniques, limiting the amount of time spent awake in bed, encouraging later bedtimes and consistent morning wake times. The strategy aims to consolidate sleep and gets people to go to sleep later than they normally do and wake at a regular time in the morning. 

Promising results have emerged from the ongoing study, offering hope for improved sleep quality in older people. 

Recruitment for this study is now closed and results will be available next year. 


Can an App help older Australians sleep?


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