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An App to Help Teens with Insomnia Get a Better Night’s Rest

The Sleep and Depression Laboratory at Toronto Metropolitan University approached PIVOT with the task of digitizing an existing paper diary to help improve sleep for adolescents and young adults.

Challenge

The existing evidence-based paper diary was widely used in the field of sleep science, but Dr. Carney, Director of the Sleep and Depression Lab, felt that a digital tool could address a gap in the care of adolescents and young adults with insomnia and sleep disorders where there was a lack of effective, evidence-based sleep and fatigue products on the market. Our application would allow teens to track their sleep patterns and get feedback on their sleep based on their habits. Filling out a daily sleep diary would also let them more accurately communicate their sleep patterns with their healthcare provider.

Solution

PIVOT began the project by talking to teens and young adults struggling with their sleep, to learn how the app could fit into their daily routines, what products they already used and what they expected from a sleep app. Once a working prototype was designed, we tested it with another round of interviews to ensure our audiences' needs were front and centre.

The final app, Doze, is bold and colourful with playful illustrations designed to engage a younger audience. It centres around the evidence-based Sleep Diary but also includes a summary of users’ progress, learning modules, goal setting, and tips based on their habits. Working closely with Dr. Carney, we developed an algorithm to identify red flags and recognizable sleep issues so the app could respond effectively with appropriate feedback and encouragement.

Find out more about the app at dozeapp.ca

I had promised to work with teens to design it, and found it very hard to do. PIVOT was very good at asking users the right questions about the app, and really imagining what each prototypical user would want the app to do. That’s where I learned a lot.”

— Associate Professor & Director, Sleep & Depression Laboratory, Toronto Metropolitan University