Insomnia Relief

Peter ForsterBest Practices, Insomnia, Insomnia Treatment

Mature man waking up for daily jobHow to find insomnia relief is a question that many people we work with struggle with. A recent editorial in JAMA Psychiatry and the accompanying research article suggests that the online program that we’ve been recommending to our patients for years (SHUTi) is the treatment of choice for insomnia.

We have been extremely pleased with the results from this program which can be integrated into treatment easily and provides an effective way of improving not only insomnia but also depression, for those individuals with depression who also suffer from insomnia.

This summary pretty much says it all…

The developers of the Sleep Healthy Using the Internet (SHUTi) program have been pioneers in the rapidly growing space of mobile strategies for treating insomnia. SHUTi is a fully automated, interactive, and tailored internet-based program that incorporates the well-tested principles of CBT-I. In this issue of JAMA Psychiatry, Ritterband and colleagues3 report that, in a sample of 303 patients with chronic insomnia, those randomized to 9 weeks of SHUTi showed significant improvements in the symptoms of insomnia, decreases in the number of minutes awake during the night, and a shorter time to sleep onset at the postintervention follow-up compared with individuals randomized to the active control condition (internet-based patient sleep education). Many of the gains for those using SHUTi were maintained over time, with 56.6% of SHUTi participants deemed as insomnia remitters compared with 27.3% in the control condition 1 year after the intervention. These improvements were similar to those observed in trials using face-to-face CBT-I, which is impressive. Furthermore, despite the intervention being completely automated, adherence was good, with 60.0% of SHUTi participants completing all 6 “cores” of the program.

If you’re a patient in the clinic suffering from insomnia, and at least half of our patients are likely to be experiencing significant symptoms from time to time, we strongly encourage you to talk to your clinician who can set up this program for you and help you get started.

[2022 Update] In 2018, Pear Therapeutics acquired SHUTi and obtained FDA market authorization for the digital therapeutic for insomnia commercially known as Somryst™ in March 2020. More information on Somryst™.


Krystal AD, Prather AA. Should Internet Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia Be the Primary Treatment Option for Insomnia?Toward Getting More SHUTi. JAMA Psychiatry. Published online November 30, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.3431