SleepKey FAQS

SleepKey FAQ

1. Is SleepKey right for me?

The SleepKey program utilizes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) which is recognized by the scientific and medical community as the most-effective treatment for Primary Insomnia. Primary insomnia typically results from developed patterns of sleep behavior that interfere with the natural sleep-wake pattern, and are not from known physical or mental conditions. SleepKey is a safe and drug-free solution to help you achieve your goal of regular and restful sleep.

2. Why should I try SleepKey?

  • Scientifically Based: SleepKey is developed and evaluated with grants from the US National Institutes of Health.
  • Effective: SleepKey is based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, considered by the medical and scientific community as the treatment of choice for primary insomnia.
  • Drug-Free: SleepKey helps you naturally restore your sleep without drug side effects or addiction.
  • Personalized: SleepKey is tailored to your unique sleep pattern.
  • Easy To Use: While in bed, press the awake bar on SleepKey if you hear a low beep and let SleepKey do the rest.
  • Free Support Hotline: Just pick up the phone to reach our SleepKey Support Staff at 1-888-875-3375.

3. Should I stop taking my sleep medications when using SleepKey?

Consult with your doctor before you decide to either reduce or stop taking any medication.  The SleepKey system may be used in conjunction with other sleep medications, however, the system should work independently with or without help from sleep medications.  The SleepKey system will help you restore restful sleep naturally, and eventually you may want to consult with your doctor about reducing the amount of sleep medications you take.

4. Why is this a "system"? Are there other things I have to do besides using the computer?

The SleepKey computer is a fully integrated system that gradually reshapes your natural sleep pattern to help you achieve your goal of a regular and restful night’s sleep. In addition to following the computer as closely as possible, the SleepKey program guide is a 74-page booklet that gives helpful tips, information, and motivation. The program guide makes suggestions and reviews some relaxation techniques to increase your chance of success for full and restful sleep.

5. Can I turn SleepKey off at night if the sleep-prompt keeps me awake?

No.  Learning to fall asleep while SleepKey generates sleep prompts may take a night or two. You do not need to listen for or anticipate these sleep prompts. If you find the sleep prompt keeps you awake, try either a lower-volume tone setting or the vibration mode the next night.

6. How do I change the current time, wake-up time, or sleep-prompt settings?

You may only change the current time, wake-up time, and sleep-prompt settings during the day when you are out of bed.  To change the settings, press and hold the Set Key for 2 seconds until you see the flashing display. Cycle through the settings until you see the setting you would like to change by using the Set Key; then use the Back and Forward Arrow Keys. Continue to press the Set Key to end the update mode. As a safeguard, the Set Key is disabled at night to prevent accidental changes to these settings.

7. I spent 8 hours in bed last night, but why hasn’t my sleep efficiency improved?

Sleep efficiency is your percentage of time asleep during the time period you “intended” to be asleep, i.e., from the time you go to bed at night to the time you get up in the morning. Most normal sleepers spend nearly all of their time in bed asleep—a sleep efficiency of 90-95% or more. People with insomnia tend to spend less than 85% of the time in bed asleep. On a bad night, you may go to bed at 11:00 PM, spend only a couple of hours asleep, and get up the next morning at 7:00 AM. This would result in a sleep efficiency of only 25% (2 hours asleep/8 hours “in bed”). Sleep efficiency is an important measure of improvement in your sleep. SleepKey uses your sleep efficiency information to make adjustments to your sleep program. As you use SleepKey, you should see gradual improvement in your sleep efficiency until you are consistently sleeping between 90–95% of the time you are in bed each night.

8. Why shouldn’t I nap during the day?

After a poor night’s sleep, the tendency is to compensate or “catch up” on sleep by sleeping late, taking naps, or trying to go to bed earlier. It may feel good at the time, but sleeping late or taking a nap may prevent you from being sleepy enough to fall asleep when you go to bed that night. If you get up at a regular time, stay awake during the day without napping, and wait until you are tired before you go to bed, you increase your chances of falling asleep soon after going to bed.

9. What if I can’t stay awake until the scheduled bedtime during Stage II?

SleepKey determines the best time for you to go to bed based on your previous week’s mean sleep time and your current wake-up time. It might be difficult to stay up until the scheduled bedtime, especially if you did not get much sleep the prior night, but do your best to stay awake until the scheduled bedtime. Do an interesting and relaxing activity until time for bed. Read a book or magazine, watch some TV, surf the web, or have a light snack. If you feel you must go to bed before the scheduled bedtime, then press and hold the In/Out-of-Bed Key and shift SleepKey to “in-bed” mode. After the tone and reminder to stay up, SleepKey will eventually shift to “in-bed” mode and generate the sleep prompts to assess if you are awake or asleep.

10. Why does my scheduled bedtime vary?

After a few nights at your currently scheduled bedtime, SleepKey will review your sleep information. If you are sleeping well with high sleep inefficiencies (i.e., nearly all of your time in bed is spent asleep), then SleepKey will adjust your bedtime and make it a few minutes earlier. SleepKey will continue to monitor how well you are sleeping after each adjustment and continue to make new adjustments to your scheduled bedtime every few days. Most of the time, you’ll notice that your bedtime is adjusted earlier than before. This is a sign that you are making progress and are on your way to getting a normal night’s sleep again. If you have a period of poor sleep, however, SleepKey may need to adjust your bedtime later for a few days until you are sleeping better again.

11. How long does it take to return to my normal sleep pattern?

The length of the SleepKey system varies from individual to individual. During Stage I, SleepKey assesses your sleep pattern for a week and uses this information to provide a tailored program to restore your sleep. Stage II lasts until you get the sleep you need each night. For some, Stage II takes only a few weeks. For others, Stage II might take a few months. The length of Stage II often depends on how long you have had insomnia, how little sleep you were getting when you started Stage II, how well you followed the SleepKey system during Stage II, and how much sleep you need to feel rested during the day.

12. What if my sleep quality doesn’t improve after using SleepKey for some time?

If you have been using SleepKey regularly for a few months and do not feel like you are sleeping better or making progress, see your health care professional. There may be other conditions causing your sleep difficulties that were not detected earlier, or you may need to consider other treatments to improve your sleep.

13. How do I know when to stop using SleepKey?

When you are generally feeling rested during the day and can do your daily tasks without feeling tired or sleepy, you are probably getting enough sleep. Most people know when their sleep-wake pattern matches the needs of their body and their internal sleep clock. They usually go to bed at a regular time each night and fall asleep relatively quickly most nights; they sleep through the night with only an occasional awakening; and they wake up each morning at a regular time feeling generally rested and ready for the day. When you get to this point in your sleep-wake cycle, it is time to finish Stage II of the SleepKey system. When you finish Stage II, you have two options: you can continue to use SleepKey in a maintenance mode (Stage III), or you can turn SleepKey off and continue your current sleep pattern and bedtime routine without SleepKey.

14. When should I advance to Stage III and how can I do that?

  • During Stage III, SleepKey will continue to monitor your sleep and prompt you when to go to bed and when to get out of bed. Though SleepKey will not adjust your bedtime to be any earlier than it currently is, it will, however, adjust your bedtime to a later time if your sleep efficiency worsens. When your sleep improves, your bedtime can be adjusted back to the bedtime you found adequate when you shifted to Stage III.
  • Since the length of time in Stage II differs from user to user, SleepKey does not automatically advance to Stage III.  If you decide you want SleepKey to help you maintain the progress you have made, you will need to enter Stage III manually.
  1. To do so, first press and hold the Awake Key and then (while holding the Awake Key down) press and hold the Set Key for 2 seconds. The first Advanced Setup display is for changing the time display from a 12-hour to a 24-hour clock. Unless you wish to change how SleepKey displays time, press the Set Key again. 
  2. If you are currently in Stage II and you are sleeping well enough to shift to Stage III, then you should see a flashing II in the upper left corner of the screen. Pressing the Forward Arrow Key will shift the display from II to III.
  3. Pressing the Set Key again will save your “stage” selection and the SleepKey version number will display. This number is for diagnostic purposes only in the event you experience a problem with SleepKey.
  4. Press the Set Key again to return to the Current Time display. You will now be in Stage III and your bedtime will not be set any earlier than it currently is.

If, after pressing the Set Key from the 12- vs. 24-hour clock screen, SleepKey displays the version number and skips the “stage shift” screen altogether, then SleepKey has determined it is too soon in your program to be able to shift to Stage III Maintenance. If so, press the Set Key to get back to the Current Time display and continue to use the program in Stage II until your sleep pattern improves.