Do you or a loved one have sleep onset insomnia (difficulty falling asleep)? Does your mind race or “chatter” on about all the stresses in your life, making it difficult to wind down and fall asleep? Or do you have sleep maintenance insomnia (inability to stay asleep, frequent waking during the night)? Insomnia may be caused by poor sleep hygiene (behaviors such as violent movies at bedtime, too much caffeine throughout the day, or too much time in front of the TV, computer, etc. at night). 43% of all Americans believe they could use more sleep and 9% percent have been diagnosed with a sleep disorder.
Gone are the days where everyone has multiple desktop computers in the home. Many have done away with the bulky machines in favor of more convenient devices such as tablets and smartphones. In this case, convenience begets dependence as many people are finding it harder to become detached from their devices, especially during bedtime. Tablets and smartphones emit a blue light that has detrimental effects on sleep quality. Using these devices at night often disrupts sleep. The brain uses blue light that comes from natural sunlight to tell us the difference between day and night. Also, various bodily changes occur that allow us to be more alert and active during the day. The absence of this blue light directs the brain to prepare the body for rest and rejuvenation. If during this period of “winding down” a blue light is introduced, then it fools the brain into behaving as though it is still daytime resulting in insomnia. It is suggested that people refrain from bringing blue light emitting devices into bed but that may not always be a practical solution. Companies are developing gadgets such as orange tinged glasses, screen filters, and blue-light-free bulbs to offer a solution. Also, there are smartphone and Kindle settings such as f.lux to transform blue light to a reddish orange hue.
Neurofeedback has shown in research and clinical settings to produce very favorable results with individuals suffering with insomnia. Researchers experimented with two groups, SMR Neurofeedback and Randomized Neurofeedback, to determine if the SMR group would perform better on a memory task and fall asleep faster than the Randomized group. It was concluded that those in the SMR Neurofeedback group scored higher on the memory test and fell asleep faster than the Randomized group. Neurofeedback helps by training areas of the brain that are responsible for falling asleep and staying asleep. As a non-invasive approach, neurofeedback is helping people who had previously exhausted all of their options without any results. For example, one neurofeedback client reported averaging five hours of sleep for decades and now, after only seven neurofeedback sessions, is enjoying deeper, longer, and more restorative sleep. Another person reported that before neurofeedback she had trouble staying asleep and would wake up before the alarm clock would ring. After about six neurofeedback sessions, she now sleeps more soundly and doesn’t wake up before the alarm clock. The Better Brain Center is well equipped with varying Neurofeedback modalities and has had success treating insomnia. Call us to see if we can help you improve your sleep.