Psychology Colloquium: Dr Sophie Li: Sleep Ninja®: An app to help teens improve their mood with a better nights sleep
Dr Sophie Li (Black Dog Institute)
Rates of depression are increasing among adolescents. A novel way to reduce depression is by improving sleep. We evaluated whether an app-based intervention for insomnia improved sleep and depression, and whether changes in insomnia mediated changes in depression. We conducted a 2-arm single-blind randomised controlled trial at the Black Dog Institute. Adolescents 12–16 years (N=264) experiencing insomnia symptoms were randomly allocated to receive Sleep Ninja, an app-delivered cognitive behavioural therapy program for insomnia, or to an active control group involving weekly text message sleep tips. Assessments took place at baseline, 6 weeks (post-intervention) and 14 weeks (post-baseline). Co-primary outcomes were symptoms of insomnia and depression at post-intervention (primary endpoint). Intent-to-treat analyses were conducted. The results of the RCT will be presented, along with secondary analyses of the data aimed at examining rumination as a potential mediator between insomnia and depression symptoms.
Dr Li is a Clinical Psychologist and Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the Black Dog Institute. Her current research focuses on understanding the mechanisms underlying psychopathology and treatment effects, including the effect of transdiagnostic factors such as repetitive negative thinking, sleep disturbance and technology use on disorder development and treatment. She recently led the evaluation of Sleep Ninja®, a smartphone app for adolescent insomnia and also led the development of ClearlyMe®, a cognitive-behavioural therapy smartphone app for adolescent depression and anxiety, which is currently under evaluation. Dr Li also works as a clinical psychologist in private practice.