Development notes

What is the BedTime Helper?
It is a collection of tools for those who have trouble sleeping. The app allows you to build a personalised routine of bedtime activities and notifies you when it’s time to start your routine every evening. It also has a host of advice, and relaxation resources, such as audio files to guide you through relaxation and meditation.

How does it work?
Most psychotherapists will advise clients who have trouble sleeping to set and follow a consistent bedtime routine and get into bed the same time each evening. This practice is based on the principle of habit formation, the simple idea that the more we do something, the easier it becomes. Applied to sleep, it means that the more one practices the discipline of starting to prepare for bed at the same time each evening, the more this will enter their habit and help them have a healthy sleep pattern. This is not a quick fix, but it does work in the long-term.
At the same time, many other factors can disrupt sleep, such as worry and tension, or lifestyle and basic diet factors, so we have included in the BedTime Helper some practical advice and tools to help with relaxation and lifestyle changes.

How was the app developed?
We first began working on the Bedtime Helper in 2014. The idea came out of clinical practice, where a common technique for dealing with sleep disturbance is to encourage the formation of healthy bedtime habits. Research has shown that setting and following a consistent bedtime routine can be an effective intervention in children as well as adults. We turned this simple intervention into an app. Based on several iterations of testing the app with a small group of around ten users, we gradually updated the presentation of the app, its features, added further functionality such as badges to encourage usage, and further audio tracks.

BedTime Helper was made by PsyNovigo, a company that develops software based on psychological rseearch