SHUTi is a web-based program intended to treat insomnia in adult and elderly users. Its clinical strategy is drawn from principles of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia – “sleep restriction therapy” – according to which the sleeper sets a bedtime and wake-up time and sticks to those times closely. SHUTi is a structured program – comprised of a 6-week intervention – that leads the user step by step through the process for improving the length and quality of sleep. The program includes a weekly 25–45-minute learning session, along with a “homework” assignment and a daily sleep diary (2–4 minutes long). Each weekly session includes a psychoeducational section (e.g., what are the risk factors for insomnia), and the presentation and explanation of a weekly task that incorporates various features to engage the user (video, quizzes, personal vignettes, etc.).
SHUTi is a full online intervention for insomnia, mostly suited to adult and elderly users. SHUTi’s design attempts to simulate the schedule and framework of an in-person treatment. SHUTi uses approachable and supportive language to help the user feel encouraged and motivated. Overall, the program is highly structured, the content is professional, and the information and assignments are clear and simple to comprehend. On the down side, some of the content delivery methods are not engaging enough to encourage continuous use. In addition, the program’s main intervention tool is a method of “sleep restriction”, which could be difficult for some users to adhere to. There are questions as to whether the program’s structure responds well enough to users’ need for ongoing support when applying this method. For example, daily sleep journals are required in order to unlock the weekly session; this restricts the availability of the program and makes it challenging for those who may seek more support to cope with the restriction of sleep time.
SHUTi is a structured program. It could be added as a supplement to therapy that does not focus on insomnia if the patient experiences such difficulties. It might also be incorporated into a treatment that focuses on insomnia and uses similar techniques, with therapy sessions aligned to program sessions. The developers present an option for a patient to choose “SHUTi Professional”, which enables clinicians (also registered on SHUTi) to follow patients’ progress online. For this option, a code from the clinician is needed.