If you are one of 70 million Americans believed to have difficulty sleeping in one form or another, it may be a wise idea to read on.
It's estimated that 20 percent of adults experience some form of insomnia for at least a year.
A recent study also estimates that insomnia is responsible for 274,000 workplace accidents and errors each year, adding up to $31 billion in lost wages and revenue for businesses large and small. The Exxon Valdez oil spill and the Challenger disaster were both attributed to insomnia related incidences with ship and flight crews.
Lack of proper nightly rest is also a huge tax on focus, concentration and motivation. Without at least six and a half to seven hours, short term memory starts to fail and one's ability to drive safely is reduced to that of a alcohol impaired driver.
Interestingly, there is a new approach in insomnia treatment being used on returning war veterans called neurofeedback. This treatment, also known as brainwave biofeedback is being used extensively to treat the anxiety, insomnia and PTSD. It widely know that one of the main symptoms of PTSD is usually a complete lack of a soldiers ability yo sleep properly. It's also noted that war related chronic insomnia can be the main reason why the suicide rate is so high amongst returning soldiers.
The beauty of neurofeedback for insomnia is that the treatment involves no medications whatsoever. In fact, people taking Ambien or Lunesta find it considerably easier to get off these medications using neurofeedback than trying to do so on their own.
The basis for neurofeedback is simple: the electrical aspects of one's neurophysiology are at play in the form of hyper-vigilance, causing brainwaves to be out of balance for whats needed for achieving proper sleep architecture and restorative rest. Contrary to popular opinion, most people with insomnia do not have behavioral problems per se, but simply have a brain in need of a tune-up.
Nor are they in need of multiple drugs, which by the way do not address the bio-electrical balances mentioned above. Medications like Xanax and Ambien seem to only compound the problem of creating the environment for healthy, natural sleep. Most people taking these meds know full well that they, at best, produce fake sleep and worst, according to a new Scripps study, create a fourfold increase in premature death.
A study conducted in 2008 at the Norwalk Hospital Sleep Disorder Center
showed neurofeedback improving both sleep latency, (time it takes to
fall asleep) and total sleep time, compared to the control group.