Sleepless nights are all too familiar for millions of people. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 50 to 70 million US adults have a sleep disorder. Of those, about 30% suffer from insomnia. Insomnia is defined as difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, even when a person has the opportunity to do so. It can happen occasionally or it can be an ongoing problem.
The effects of insomnia can be far reaching. People who don't get enough sleep are more likely to have accidents and to make mistakes at work or school. They're also more likely to get sick and take longer to recover from illness.
Many factors can contribute to insomnia, including stress, anxiety, depression, certain medications and illnesses, as well as dietary and environmental factors.
Fortunately, there are many non-pharmacological treatments that can help people get the rest they need.
When is insomnia a cause for concern?
Most people experience occasional sleepless nights, but when insomnia becomes a regular problem, it can be a cause for concern. If you find that you're regularly not getting enough sleep or that poor sleep is interfering with your daily life, it's important to talk to your doctor.
There are many things that can contribute to insomnia, and it's important to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
What are some non-pharmacological options for treating insomnia?
Once any underlying causes have been ruled out or treated, there are many non-pharmacological options that can help improve the quality of sleep.
Some of the most common and effective treatments for insomnia include:
Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I)
CBT-I is a type of therapy that helps people change their thoughts and behaviors around sleep. It is an effective treatment for both short-term and long-term insomnia; it is the first choice treatment for long-term insomnia, because it is more effective than medication.
Stimulus control therapy
This type of therapy helps people change their habits and behaviors around sleep.
Sleep hygiene is a set of habits and practices that promote good sleep. It includes things like maintaining a regular sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine and blue light before bed, and creating a relaxing bedtime routine.
Sleep Cycle is a sleep tracker that analyzes your sleep patterns and detects snoring, sleep talking, coughing and other sounds. It also has a smart alarm clock that wakes you up while you're in your lightest sleep phase.
BetterSleep is a great app for those who want to relax and fall asleep easily. It features a variety of soothing sounds and guided meditations that can help you relax and get a good night's sleep. The app also has a sleep tracker and recorder so you can track your sleep patterns and improve your sleep habits.
Pzizz is an app that helps you sleep, nap, and focus better. It features a sleep module to help you fall asleep fast and wake up feeling refreshed, a nap module to help you get rid of that groggy feeling, and a focus module to help you get more work done. The app is highly customizable and clinically validated. You can try it for free for seven days.
Insomnia Coach provides a guided, weekly training plan to help you track and improve your sleep, a sleep coach with personal feedback about your sleep and fun sleep tips, and an interactive sleep diary to help you keep track of daily changes in your sleep. It also has 17 tools to help you get your sleep back on track.
Calm is a well-known app for sleep and meditation. It features guided meditations, sleep stories, music, relaxation exercises, and more to help you relax, focus, and get a good night's sleep. The app also includes a 7-day or 21-day program taught by world-renowned experts in the field of mindfulness.
There are several factors that can contribute to insomnia, and it's important to talk to your doctor if you're regularly not getting enough sleep, or if you have other associated symptoms.
There are many effective non-pharmacological treatments for insomnia, including cognitive behavioural therapy, stimulus control therapy, and sleep hygiene, and many of these are used in the apps above to help you sleep.
App stores are full of apps to help you sleep; have you tried one already? Will you? In any case, let me wish you a good night’s sleep!
Your health care professional can help you choose
Feeling confident is important. Get all the essential information about health apps by talking to your healthcare professional.
AppGuide provides reliable information about mobile health apps that allows patients and healthcare professionals to make informed, shared decisions about using a health app to track health status or act on your priority health goals.