CVS Health wants a sleep app to be part of employee benefits. But do they really work?

Posted at 2:37 PM, Oct 24, 2019

CVS Health is encouraging employers to cover Sleepio as an employee benefit.

This app is supposed to help people with insomnia.

Through a six-week program, it’s supposed to help people fall asleep faster and stay asleep by using cognitive behavioral therapy.

It's encouraged by doctors because it tackles sleeping habits by changing people's negative thinking patterns.

But do sleep apps really work?

One expert at the University of Colorado says they do help provide certain information that your doctor may not have, like how long you're sleeping every night.

But there are other things sleep apps can't do.

“Where they fall short is when they're sort of estimating your sleep stages,” says Christopher Depner, a sleep expert at the University of Colorado. “That's gonna be your light sleep, your REM sleep and your deep sleep. In some people they're accurate, in other people they're less than 50% accurate. So, for right now, we really can't use them medically to assess sleep staging.”

If an app alerts you that you're getting less than seven hours of sleep, talk to your doctor.

These sleep apps are not actual medical diagnostic devices because they're not approved by the FDA.

That's not to say they won't ever be approved, but right now, app makers are having a hard time getting the green light.

The same applies to any other app that intends to treat other conditions.