Everybody’s had a sleepless night at some point. But severe chronic insomnia is experienced by more Americans than you might think. According to some recent studies almost 10% of Americans have chronic insomnia whilst between 30 and 50% have had insomnia at some point. This makes sleepless nights a significant burden on the American economy and on millions of individuals day to day lives. But a new breakthrough in night time lenses has been heralded as a potential cure for insomnia that could help millions of sufferers not just in the United States but worldwide.
What Is Insomnia?
There are a number of different symptoms one might experience if they have insomnia, these can include:
- Difficulty falling asleep (you may lie there for hours before nodding off)
- Waking up multiple times in the night (naturally and not just from a noisy neighbor!)
- Waking up in the morning earlier than necessary and being unable to fall back to sleep
- You may wake up but never truly feel refreshed
- Even though you are tired you may find it difficult to fall asleep and nap during the day
- During the day you may feel tired and irritable. There can be lapses of concentration or difficulty concentrating.
What treatments are currently available for insomnia?
There are a few good treatments for insomnia that your family doctor or a specialist may prescribe or recommend. These include:
- Good sleeping habits! With the advent of smartphones and laptops, we have become increasingly poor sleepers. The reason why is pretty obvious – constant stimulation with screens doesn’t allow time for our brains to switch off. Good Sleeping habits can include a number of things like
- Having a fixed bedtime and wake up time
- Relaxing before bedtime
- Not going to bed until you are tired
- Not having caffeine or alcohol in the evenings
- Not eating a big meal!
- Cognitive behavioral therapies. You might have heard of CBT for mental health conditions but it’s also useful in treating insomnia. It can help get you into good habits that break the insomnia
- Sleeping tablets. Doctors used to hand these out a lot but rely on them less and less because they can actually make this insomnia worse and are often addictive. However, they can be used to provide very short-term relief (eg a few days at a time).
Are lenses a breakthrough?
Just this week an incredible study was released that suggested blocking blue light out might cure insomnia. A researcher at Columbia found that individuals who wore a blue light blocking visor before going to sleep had big improvements in how much sleep they got and how they felt day to day.
These treatments could be available soon, but until then if you or somebody you know is suffering from insomnia talk to a specialist clinic about the best tailored made treatment plan. Although family practitioners do a sensational job – they often don’t have the in-depth knowledge to deal with long-term chronic insomnia that a specialist would.