Help for insomnia from the app store? A standardized rating of mobile health applications claiming to target insomnia

Simon, Laura and Reimann, Josephin and Steubl, Lena Sophia and Stach, Michael and Spiegelhalder, Kai and Sander, Lasse Bosse and Baumeister, Harald and Messner, Eva-Maria and Terhorst, Yannik (2022) Help for insomnia from the app store? A standardized rating of mobile health applications claiming to target insomnia. Journal of Sleep Research . ISSN 0962-1105

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/jsr.13642


A large number of mobile health applications claiming to target insomnia are available in commercial app stores. However, limited information on the quality of these mobile health applications exists. The present study aimed to systematically search the European Google Play and Apple App Store for mobile health applications targeting insomnia, and evaluate the quality, content, evidence base and potential therapeutic benefit. Eligible mobile health applications were evaluated by two independent reviewers using the Mobile Application Rating Scale-German, which ranges from 1 – inadequate to 5 – excellent. Of 2236 identified mobile health applications, 53 were included in this study. Most mobile health applications (68%) had a moderate overall quality. Concerning the four main subscales of the Mobile Application Rating Scale-German, functionality was rated highest (M = 4.01, SD = 0.52), followed by information quality (M = 3.49, SD = 0.72), aesthetics (M = 3.31, SD = 1.04) and engagement (M = 3.02, SD = 1.03). While scientific evidence was identified for 10 mobile health applications (19%), only one study employed a randomized controlled design. Fifty mobile health applications featured sleep hygiene/psychoeducation (94%), 27 cognitive therapy (51%), 26 relaxation methods (49%), 24 stimulus control (45%), 16 sleep restriction (30%) and 24 sleep diaries (45%). Mobile health applications may have the potential to improve the care of insomnia. Yet, data on the effectiveness of mobile health applications are scarce, and this study indicates a large variance in the quality of the mobile health applications. Thus, independent information platforms are needed to provide healthcare seekers and providers with reliable information on the quality and content of mobile health applications.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:apps, mHealth, mobile health, sleep disorder, systematic investigation
Subjects:DBIS Research > Publications
ID Code:2119
Deposited By: Michael Stach
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Deposited On:14 Nov 2022 14:12
Last Modified:14 Nov 2022 14:12

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