A couple of years ago, CNN reported that absenteeism, low work performance, obesity and increased illness – even hospitalizations – in the lives of working adults can be attributed to insomnia, nighttime awakenings and other sleep issues. This means that more than 70 million Americans who suffer from insomnia are not performing as well as they could at work and in their daily lives.
The National Sleep Foundation found that 60 percent of Americans have felt sleepy while driving and as many as 37 percent actually fell asleep behind the wheel within the past twelve months. Quite simply, without a good night’s sleep, people cannot be at their best.
For military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), long term insomnia can be partially blamed for debilitating post-war problems that are often addressed by a litany of prescribed medications. Those medications often carry individual side effects and prohibit the soldier’s return to active duty. Although the exact physiological cause of PTSD and its resulting insomnia is still unknown, it is suspected that the paired disorders disrupt the body’s hormone production and functioning of the nervous system, while also presenting all of the negative effects of sleeplessness.
At its root, insomnia is often caused by stress and anxiety. Daily worries find their way into our sleeping mind, creating hyper-arousal when our brain should be at rest. One night of lost sleep can then become chronic insomnia, as stress of the daytime keeps one awake at night and exhaustion from lack of sleep increases our daily stress. It is a cyclical problem that is difficult to interrupt and alleviate.
The American Journal of Psychiatry conducted a sleep study which showed that inappropriate physiological arousal is indeed a cause of insomnia and that such patients have increased high-frequency EEG activation. Sleep medications such as Ambien and Lunesta try to reduce the hyper-arousal of the brain, but after as little as two weeks, those drugs lose their effectivity. Those medications also carry with them damaging side effects.
As an alternative to troubling prescriptions that may very well lose their ability to provide help for insomnia, Neurofeedback – a form of biofeedback – works with the brain’s own electrical system to decrease hyperarousal. Neurofeedback actually retrains the brain to start controlling and reducing causes of insomnia on its own again. This negates the need for long term training in most instances. Many patients using Neurofeedback find that the training alleviates hyper-arousal caused by daily stresses, anxiety and even PTSD.
Neurofeedback is a completely non-invasive training. The patient has tiny sensors placed on the scalp. Those sensors provide the therapist with session information on a computer screen, while the patient receives visual and audio feedback stimulated and controlled directly by their brain. This stimulation helps the brain quiet itself and end the insomnia cycle, allowing the patient to get back to a more normal, productive, healthier and improved quality of life.
At Advanced Health and Performance Institute, in Orlando and Winter Park, we can help you battle your insomnia through Neurofeedback brain training. Our staff is expertly-trained in Neurofeedback, and we can walk you through the brain training process to get you back to a good sleep routine.
No one can be at their best when they are lacking sleep. Let AHPI help you get back to your best with our Neurofeedback brain training programs. We have programs tailored to athletes, students and executives, making your training customized for your needs. Contact AHPI today to schedule your appointment.