SleepyHead – Improving well-being and mental health by targeting sleep with digital gamified sleep education


Mental health disorders are one of the major public health issues worldwide with an estimated 970 million people (one in ten) living with a mental health condition globally (Dattani et al., 2021). One symptom that many, if not all mental health disorders have in common, are sleep problems (Dattani et al., 2021; NEDA, 2021; NHS, 2019; NHS, 2018). Research now shows that improving sleep has already been shown to improve physical health, overall health-related quality of life and even reduce healthcare costs (Scott et al., 2021; Sampson et al., 2021; Kyle et al., 2010; Espie et al., 2008). The most common sleep disorders are insomnias, an umbrella term for a variety of sleep disorders (DGSM, 2017; Spiegelhalder et al., 2011). Currently, cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) is recommended as the first-line treatment for chronic insomnia in adults of all ages (ESRS, 2017). Despite its relative effectiveness, the recent pandemic highlighted the necessity to have digital solutions for sleep (Jahrami et al., 2021). Current available digital solutions for sleep do exist, but tend to lack engaging features such as gamification. When considering that gamification is grounded in behaviour change theory, the delivery of fun & engaging psychoeducational content to improve sleep through mobile applications becomes viable.

Project Objectives

Therefore, the project aims to develop a digital solution, that combines aspects of gamificiation and education to help people improve their sleep and therefore there overall wellbeing and health mentally or physically.  


  • Provide gamified digital solution to educate on healthy sleep behaviours
  • Innovation: Benefits of gamification applied to digital sleep education
  • Aim​:
    • Educate young adults on sleep
    • help to achieve better sleep hygiene 
    • Improve sleep ​
    • Improve health related quality of life and mental health


SleepyHead – Prototype Interface









The fesability of this project was analyzed regarding its potential for further research and the development of a business case. SleepyHead creates value by offering instant digital access to gamified sleep education, that is engaging and easy to use. With our working prototype at hand and adequate resources, partners, channels, and activities there is a realistic opportunity to add to the currently limited field of research, which is the improvement of mental health and wellbeing through improved sleep using methods of digital gamified education. Larger studies will allow to reveal the true benefits of this approach and open further opportunities for the development of a viable business case. Especially considering the growing interest in refundable mobile health applications, like the health apps covered by German health insurances, the future will hold further opportunities to bring benefits of gamified sleep education to the greater public in an accessibly way. 



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