The Use of Digital Health Technologies to Manage Insomnia in Military Populations

  • Renee C. Cavanagh
  • Rachel Mackey
  • Lidiane Bridges
  • Ann Gleason
  • Robert CiullaEmail author
  • Logan Micheel
  • David Bradshaw
  • Christina M. Armstrong
  • Tim Hoyt


Up to one-third of US Active Duty Service Members endorse insomnia symptoms. To support the overall readiness of service members at home and abroad, this rapid review analyzes findings from clinical trials and the results of an innovative market research protocol investigating digital health technologies to support treatment for insomnia. The authors searched the PubMed database for clinical trials incorporating internet and mobile technologies for treatment of insomnia. Market research used internet search engines to identify insomnia interventions available on the internet, and mobile app distribution platforms to identify insomnia-related mobile apps. A rapid review of the literature found that internet-based cognitive behavioral programs showed similar effectiveness when compared with in-person-delivered cognitive treatments. Similarly, mobile apps developed for smartphones were found to be an effective technology for treating insomnia and sleep disorders. Based on market research findings, this report identified four internet-based treatment programs and five mobile apps for the treatment of insomnia. While there is limited research on this topic, results show a potential for successfully delivering CBT-I treatments for insomnia using the internet and mobile apps. Future evidence-based studies are needed to determine the efficacy of technology-based treatments, and for determining best practices for the military population.


Insomnia Military health Digital health Mobile applications Market research 



The authors would like to recognize Julie T. Kinn and Kathryn L. McBride for the editing and guidance they provided throughout the manuscript’s development.

Author Contributions

All authors have read, reviewed, and approved the submission of this manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

This manuscript does not report on a clinical trial.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


Work for this article was completed by federal government employees or contractors supporting the Defense Health Agency or the Department of Veterans Affairs. The opinions or assertions contained herein are the private views of the authors and are not to be construed as official or reflecting the views of the US government, the Department of Defense, the Defense Health Agency, or Department of Veterans Affairs.


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply  2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Connected Health Branch, Clinical Support Division, Defense Health Agency (DHA)U.S. Department of DefenseTacomaUSA
  2. 2.Gig HarborUSA
  3. 3.Department of AnesthesiologyUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  4. 4.Office of Connected CareU.S. Department of Veterans AffairsWashington, D.C.USA
  5. 5.Psychological Health Promotion Branch, Psychological Health Center of Excellence, Defense Health AgencyU.S. Department of DefenseSilver SpringUSA

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