From the Unmind Lab: Our sleep study findings

Dr. Jazz Croft

Science Liaison

Unmind Product Spotlight: Calendar Reminders


Around a third of employees struggle with disturbed sleep. Poor sleep is associated with negative health outcomes from depression to diabetes and has a big impact on work performance. So what works when it comes to better sleep? In our scientific trial, we found evidence that four weeks of using Unmind sleep tools before bed improved sleep, mental health and productivity. 

The bad news about sleep apps on the market

Despite sleep being big business, the current evidence base for what actually works is, well, a bit of a nightmare. Recent reviews have found the majority of apps have poor quality content, privacy issues and a lack of evidence base

Out of over 500 apps on Apple App Store and Google Play Store, less than 1% had any evidence of actually improving sleep.

Which means employees who are searching for self-care solutions are likely to be wasting time and money navigating the wild west of apps.

The Unmind trial

At the Unmind Lab, we’re committed to developing all our tools with clinicians and mental health experts. To test our tools, we launched a pilot randomised controlled trial (RCT). This is a gold standard method to begin investigating the feasibility and effectiveness of an intervention. We want to answer these key questions:

  • Are the sleep tools engaging and suitable for regular use?
  • Do they improve sleep quality and duration?
  • Do they support better mental health and productivity?

We recruited 300 working adults in the UK who experienced trouble sleeping and split them into two groups. Groups 1 and 2 were asked to use the Sleep Tales Shorts or the Nightwaves Tools, and group 3 were the control group who weren’t given access to Unmind. The trial lasted for four weeks, and each group completed questionnaires on their health before and after the trial.

The results

After four weeks of using our sleep tools, groups 1 and 2 saw significant wellbeing improvements compared to the control (group 3). The trial shows using the Shorts for just a few nights a week significantly improves sleep, mental health and productivity.

More sleep Unmind test groups gained on average 3.5 hours extra sleep a week.

We found: 

  • Better mental health reduced levels of depression and anxiety compared to controls.
  • Better performance presenteeism (working while unwell) decreased from 43.7% to 27.2%.
  • User satisfaction 84.3% rated tools as either “good” or “excellent”.

Why sleep tools are a wise investment

Our results show the tools are accessible, feasible for regular use and make a real difference to employee health. Using our findings, we crunched the numbers and found they translate into serious business savings.

Based on average earnings, reductions in presenteeism translate to a weekly saving of £97.10 (USD $174.47) per employee.

Over the year, that’s £5049 (USD $9,072.53) saving per employee.

This means that providing employees with a tool to support sleep is likely to improve health outcomes and significantly reduces financial loss for organisations.

The bigger picture 

To our knowledge, this study is one of the first to examine how feasible and effective app-based audio tools are to support sleep for the general population. As a low-cost, accessible option for people struggling with sleep, this could benefit a huge number of employees and organisations. 

As part of our scientific roadmap, we’re continually developing our scientific research with rigorous, scientific trials to boost knowledge and power our platform with evidence. 

To learn more about our scientific approach visit our page or book a call with an Unminder today.