Dealing with insomnia can cause many problems in your waking hours. The most obvious problem for insomniacs is fatigue, particularly the feeling of being tired throughout the hours they are awake. People suffering from insomnia also face mood swings and a variety of health issues including mental and physical disorders.
What is Insomnia?
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that is characterized by the chronic inability to fall asleep or remain asleep for an adequate length of time. People with insomnia usually have difficulty falling asleep and feeling tired upon waking. They also tend to wake up during the night, have trouble going back to sleep and wake up too early in the morning. Continuous interruption or improper sleep can lead to serious health issues such as an impaired immune system, headaches and brain fog.
Some people have acute insomnia (short-term) or it can be an ongoing problem as in chronic insomnia. Acute insomnia can last from one night to a few weeks. Insomnia is called chronic when a person has insomnia at least three nights a week for a month or longer. It can also re-appear even after a person has not experienced sleep problems for years.
Symptoms and Causes of Insomnia
Symptoms of insomnia show up as sleepiness during the day, general tiredness, mood swings and trouble focusing.
Causes of acute insomnia can include stress, illness, medications, interferences in normal sleep schedule, environmental factors that interfere with sleep and emotional or physical discomfort. Some of the causes of chronic insomnia include depression, anxiety, chronic stress and pain or discomfort at night.
Neurofeedback Therapy and Insomnia
A person complaining of insomnia will be evaluated by their doctor with a physical exam, medical history and their sleep history. Most patients who are not able to resolve their sleep issues on their own may be referred to a sleep center for further evaluation or prescribed sleep medications.
An excellent alternative to sleep medications is neurofeedback therapy. Neurofeedback uses sensors to track brain rhythms. Clients can see a display of their brainwave activity. This will allow them to gauge their level of tension and help them develop strategies to reduce the tension.
Additionally, clients will learn relaxation therapy. They will be trained how to slow their breathing, slowly relax muscles and practice deep breathing techniques to reduce mental and physical tension. Clients will be taught how to choose a bedtime routine to help them transition to sleep such as reading, listening to music, meditation/praying, taking a warm bath or other relaxing activities.
Neurofeedback Therapy vs Sleep Medication
For many individuals, taking sleep medication is the most prescribed way to handle insomnia. Unfortunately, sleep medication only covers the symptoms and can become an additional problem if the individual becomes addicted to it. Additionally, some individuals also feel drugged and ironically drowsy — as a side effect of sleep medication. Neurofeedback on the other hand, helps clients learn how to handle their bodies more effectively and naturally so they can relax and transition to sleep easier and faster.
Neurofeedback and relaxation therapy is a means to gradually release the tension that a person unconsciously is holding in their muscles. Neurofeedback highlights the connection between your mind and body and can greatly benefit those whose insomnia is an ongoing condition.