What is the Somryst Sleep Program and How Does it Work?
Chronic insomnia can be debilitating and is defined as sleep trouble that occurs more than 3 times a week for longer than 3 months. Most sufferers report difficulty falling and staying asleep, which can cause daytime fatigue, cognitive issues, and mood swings among other unpleasant side effects.
While sleep aids and medications can offer temporary relief, many people are in search of long-lasting results. Easing insomnia symptoms involves making major changes to your habits, lifestyle, environment, and thinking patterns. Online sleep therapy programs like Somryst are designed to do exactly that.
With the tagline, “Training your brain for better sleep that lasts”, Somryst claims to take “a new approach to chronic insomnia.” Keep reading to see what this approach looks like and if it makes sense for you.
What is Somryst?
Somryst is a 9-week online sleep therapy program designed to treat insomnia using CBT-I (cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia) methods. It was launched in 2020 by Pear Therapeutics, Inc. The program includes six core lessons with exercises to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Users are allowed up to 9 weeks to complete the six lessons but must finish the program within 63 days. Somryst is a self-directed program which means that while users have 24/7 access to the app and its features, there are no sleep specialists or experts available for questions or guidance as you move through the program.
What makes the Somryst program unique is that it’s only available by prescription and is often referred to as a form of “digital medicine”. While no actual medication is used or prescribed, interested parties must pay $45 for an initial, telehealth consultation. Based on these results, if you’re eligible for the program, you’ll receive a “prescription” and gain access to all of the program’s features. While some insurance companies may cover the costs, the 9-week course will cost others $899. Because prescription digital therapies are relatively new, not many insurance companies recognize or cover their costs just yet. In some cases, FSA (flexible spending account) and HSA (health spending account) funds may help cover the expense. Somryst also offers a savings card that allows eligible members to pay just $100 for the entire course. This can be done in one payment or three installments. Further consultations will cost an additional $45 each.
Because the Somryst program is relatively intense, it’s recommended for chronic insomnia sufferers aged 22 or older. The program should also be completed under the direct supervision of a healthcare provider. As of this writing, Somryst is the only FDA-regulated prescription digital therapeutic (PDT) product used to treat chronic insomnia.
How Somryst Works
The Somryst program starts by addressing the underlying cause of your insomnia. This is referred to as “brain training”. According to Somryst, chronic insomnia makes it difficult for people to turn off the hyperactive center of the brain. Using CBT-I, Somryst trains your brain to calm your mind and restore more consistent normal sleep patterns.
The app is available in the United States and offers 24/7 access to its features, including these six core lessons:
This lesson focuses on teaching you about CBT-I including how and why it works. You’ll learn more about Somryst and the different types of sleep disorders. The guided app helps you identify your own sleep troubles and goals.
Sleep restriction is the main focus of the Somryst program, which is one reason it may be recommended for older users only. (Over the age of 22). In this second lesson, you’ll start to shorten your sleep window significantly. This shorter sleep window is designed to increase the time spent asleep in bed, reduce how long you lay awake in bed, and improve your quality of sleep. At this point, you’ll also start using the program’s sleep diary to document your progress. This lesson also covers sleep habits and how some may negatively impact your sleep.
The third lesson focuses on stimulus control, another popular form of CBT-I. Here, you’ll learn to break the association you may have about your bed and being awake. You’ll continue to adjust your sleep window, explore more poor sleep habits that could be hindering your progress, and learn to replace these poor habits with healthier ones that promote a restful night’s sleep.
Here you’ll learn to change and shift your thought patterns that may be contributing to your insomnia. You’ll also learn how negative thoughts impact your sleep patterns. At this point, you’ll review your sleep diary and continue to adjust your sleep window to fit your changing needs.
The fifth lesson in the series focuses mainly on changing your physical environment and lifestyle to improve your sleep quality. You’ll learn what behaviors and environmental factors impact sleep and how to eliminate negative ones.
At the conclusion of the Somryst sleep program, you’ll review everything you’ve learned and make a plan for the future. This includes building strategies that support long-term success.
Somryst offers a hands-on approach by telling you exactly what to do, when to do it, and how. Users receive constant feedback and progress tracking via the sleep diary. You can also have this information sent to your healthcare provider to promote comprehensive, cohesive care.
Unlike other sleep programs that you can simply download from the app store, you’ll need a prescription to access Somryst. Interested users must complete a consultation and screening process to determine eligibility. If it’s decided that you qualify, you’ll receive a digital prescription and access to the app.
Approved participants must meet a variety of criteria and several factors may make you ineligible for this PDT. These include, but aren’t limited to:
- Under the age of 22
- Diagnosed with pre-existing mental health disorders (bipolar, schizophrenia, and other psychotic spectrum disorders)
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Pregnant women
- Those at high risk for falls
Your healthcare provider will determine whether or not you have any of the above-mentioned conditions or other health issues that may interfere with the treatment used in the Somryst program. Eligible candidates must be able to read and understand English and have access to a smartphone or mobile device with Internet capabilities.
The Evidence Behind Somryst
Because the Somryst program is relatively new, there’s not a lot of evidence or reviews on its efficacy. However, the fact that it is the first and only FDA-approved PDT does say something about its quality and the science behind its approach. The program itself is backed by clinical data and research.
An average of 45% of users reported falling asleep faster and experiencing less intense insomnia symptoms after using Somryst. Another 52% of people noticed a reduction in the amount of time spent awake in bed at night. Check-ins with former patients indicated continued improvement in their insomnia symptoms for up to 6 to 12 months following treatment.
Pros and Cons of Somryst
All products have their pros and cons. Before choosing the best sleep therapy program for your insomnia needs, let’s take a closer look at some of the pros and cons of Somryst.
- A short, easy-to-follow program
- 24/7 access to the app and its resources
- The first FDA-approved prescription digital therapeutic (PDT)
- Somryst offers a savings card, payment options, and funding to cover costs
- You need a prescription to access the program
- You have to pay $45 for every consultation and the first one may result in ineligibility
- If the program isn’t covered by insurance or you don’t use the savings card, you’ll have to pay $899 for just six lessons/videos
- The entire program is self-guided so support is limited
- Heavy focus on sleep restriction, which may not be suitable for everyone
- CBT-I is the only therapy approach offered
Somryst vs. Somnus Therapy
Now let’s take a closer look at the prescription-only sleep program, Somryst, compared to a more widely available program like Somnus Therapy.
Cost and Accessibility
In terms of accessibility, you’ll need to jump through several hoops to gain access to the Somryst app and materials. Because it’s a PDT, you need a consultation with a healthcare professional to determine your eligibility. Once approved, you need to obtain a prescription to follow through with the program. This consultation costs $45 regardless of the results. The complete program gives you access to six core videos that can take you up to 9 weeks to complete. While there is some funding available including a discount card and payment plans, for those who don’t qualify, the program is priced extremely high at $899. It’s currently only available in the United States to English-speaking users.
Somnus Therapy is a comprehensive sleep therapy program that costs just $49 in the US and £49 in the UK. This one-time payment gives you uninterrupted, life-long access to the entire program and all its resources including 100 guided meditation videos, sleep sounds, and dozens of articles written by sleep experts. It’s free to download and there’s no prescription required. One thing that makes Somnus Therapy different from other sleep therapy programs is its impressive money-back guarantee. If you don’t see an improvement in your sleep after completing the program and exploring its many resources, you can request and receive a full refund!
Support and Resources
The Somryst sleep program is completely self-guided. That means you’re on your own in terms of following the lessons, entering data in your sleep diary, and reviewing the results. The information can be shared with your healthcare provider for further evaluation and advice, but it may be difficult for you to address questions and concerns as you move through the program. In terms of resources, these are also fairly limited. The program consists of six core lessons, a sleep diary, and not much else. There are minimal opportunities for further support. The app doesn’t provide articles or other education except for what’s found in the six core lessons.
Somnus Therapy offers a variety of resources, tools, and support. The one-time fee unlocks everything including more than 50 core CBT sessions, 100 guided meditation sessions designed by sleep experts, educational articles, and sleep sounds. Users also get free support and advice from a personal sleep coach throughout the duration of the program. Your coach can answer your questions, offer advice, and guide you in your journey toward a blissful night’s sleep.
Sleep Therapy Approaches
Like many other sleep programs, Somryst relies primarily on CBT-I to treat insomnia. While scientific evidence does suggest this is the most effective form of insomnia treatment, it’s not the only one.
Somryst uses CBT-I techniques like sleep restriction and stimulus control to reduce the amount of time spent awake in bed and solidify the connection between your bed and sleep. You’ll also learn to replace negative thoughts and misconceptions about sleep with more positive, productive ones. Short of this, Somryst doesn’t utilize any other therapeutic methods.
Somnus Therapy uses plenty of CBT-I techniques while also utilizing other forms of therapy like ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy), meditation, and mindfulness. Somnus Therapy offers a comprehensive, multi-faceted approach to treating insomnia. This way, users can find which methods work best for them and focus their attention on these, getting the most out of the program. If you’re worried that the intense sleep restriction methods used by Somryst may be too much, Somnus Therapy is the perfect alternative.
Rest Easy with the Right Insomnia Therapy Approach
With millions of people struggling with insomnia, it’s no surprise that there are countless therapy programs and treatment options popping up all over the place. Having options is a good thing, but it can also be confusing.
Before you select a sleep program, be sure to research its efficacy, techniques, resources, and pricing. While some programs are covered by insurance, others aren’t. Somryst is the first prescription-only insomnia treatment backed by the FDA, but chances are, it won’t be the last.
Do you think Somnus Therapy might be the best option for you? Click here to learn more about our methods and feel free to contact us with any other questions! Your health and sleep quality are our number one priorities.