Vhi recruits Alexa to help subscribers get better sleep

Health insurer has developed a guided mindfulness tool through Amazon assistant

Health insurer Vhi is stepping into the digital assistant and smart speaker market to try to encourage Ireland's corporate employees to get a better night's sleep.

The company has developed a guided mindfulness skill through Amazon Alexa to improve sleep habits by helping people to wind down and improve their sleep routine. Designed to be used before bed, Vhi's Alexa "skill" comes following a survey that found only 13 per cent of corporate employees get a good night's sleep on a daily basis.

The research, which was conducted by B&A, found corporate employees were regularly using screens before bed, with 89 per cent admitting to using the internet, 80 per cent watching television before sleep and 79 per cent checking their emails or texts.

“Technology is a part of all our lives now but instead of being a disruptive force we wanted to use it in a positive way. Blue light and the brain activity caused through the use of mobile devices is detrimental to sleep,” said Dr David Morris, head of wellness at Vhi.


“Voice technology does not involve screens and it has also been indicated that mindfulness aids sleep so we have created a solution where technology can help people power off and achieve better sleep. Our new Alexa skill helps people to quieten their mind and build a positive sleep routine.”

The mindfulness practices on the Alexa skill were created in collaboration with UCD lecturer Fiona O’Donnell.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist