Technology-Assisted behavioral intervention to extend sleep duration: Development and design of the sleep bunny mobile app

Kelly Glazer Baron*, Jennifer Duffecy, Kathryn Reid, Mark Begale, Lauren Caccamo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background: Despite the high prevalence of short sleep duration (29.2% of adults sleep <6 hours on weekdays), there are no existing theory-based behavioral interventions to extend sleep duration. The popularity of wearable sleep trackers provides an opportunity to engage users in interventions. Objective: The objective of this study was to outline the theoretical foundation and iterative process of designing the "Sleep Bunny," a technology-Assisted sleep extension intervention including a mobile phone app, wearable sleep tracker, and brief telephone coaching. We conducted a two-step process in the development of this intervention, which was as follows: (1) user testing of the app and (2) a field trial that was completed by 2 participants with short sleep duration and a cardiovascular disease risk factor linked to short sleep duration (body mass index [BMI] >25). Methods: All participants had habitual sleep duration <6.5 hours verified by 7 days of actigraphy. A total of 6 individuals completed initial user testing in the development phase, and 2 participants completed field testing. Participants in the user testing and field testing responded to open-ended surveys about the design and utility of the app. Participants in the field testing completed the Epworth Sleepiness Scale and also wore an actigraph for a 1-week baseline period and during the 4-week intervention period. Results: The feedback suggests that users enjoyed the wearable sleep tracker and found the app visually pleasing, but they suggested improvements to the notification and reminder features of the app. The 2 participants who completed the field test demonstrated significant improvements in sleep duration and daytime sleepiness. Conclusions: Further testing is needed to determine effects of this intervention in populations at risk for the mental and physical consequences of sleep loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere3
JournalJMIR Mental Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • Behavioral intervention
  • Obesity
  • Sleep duration
  • Technology
  • Vearable

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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