Digital Prenatal Insomnia Treatment Found to be Twice as Effective as Standard Care

The findings of a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry could help the one in seven pregnant women struggling with insomnia and who consequently may be at increased risk of depression and preterm birth. 
A randomized clinical trial led by UCSF researcher Jennifer Felder, PhD, and the California Preterm Birth Initiative (PTBi-CA) has shown that digital cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) is an effective, scalable and safe intervention for improving its symptoms during pregnancy. 
In fact, insomnia severity scores decreased more than twice as much for study participants who received digital CBT-I (delivered through the Sleepio program) compared to those who received standard care. Digital CBT-I recipients also experienced significantly greater improvements in depressive and anxiety symptom severity.
While traditional CBT-I has been proven effective, demand for it exceeds the availability of trained clinicians. 
The flexibility and convenience of a digital CBT-I program may be of particular interest for pregnant women, who often prefer non-pharmacological treatment options and experience competing demands on their time and energy. 
A previous study also led by Felder and PTBi-CA found that pregnant women who are diagnosed with insomnia have nearly double the odds of early preterm birth compared to those without a sleep disorder.
Jennifer Felder with research assistants
Felder with her research assistants: (from L-R) Jaontra Henderson, Jennifer Felder, Brianne Taylor and Esperanza Castillo