Have You Ever Been So Tired You Can't Sleep?

Truck driver Joe Diemand (76) feels that way all the time. Working long and late hours like Joe or working the night shift have even been called carcinogenic by the World Health Organization. U.S. Center for Disease Control recommends at least 7 hours of sleep a night and reports show that more than 80 million Americans are sleep deprived. Just look at the spike in fatal car accidents and heart attacks (increases 24%) the Monday after day light saving time!

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We have an internal molecular clock that is set to mirror and stay in sync with the sun. Because of technology and brain imaging, these three Nobel Prize (2017) winning scientists discovered this so called circadian cycle and it is now known that disruption to this cycle can lead to things like diabetes, heart disease, and dementia. 

Disruption to this sleep cycle is due to our eyes and their exposure to certain light at certain times. I can't help but feel guilty as I stare at my computer screen late at night while reading about the negative affects of reawakening my wake cycle through exposure to this type of light. According to the most recent National Geographic, Michael Finkel states light at night inhibits the production of melatonin, the hormone that helps regulate our daily biological rhythms.

Insomnia is the main reason 4% U.S. adults take sleeping pills each month. But there is research to show that people who generally take longer to fall asleep, wake up for prolonged periods during the night, or both do not need medicine. Neurofeedback has been shown to improve sleep . 

The engine of our brain, the prefrontal cortex, is the first to begin to deteriorate when we do not get enough sleep. Finkel reminds us that this is the home for our decision-making power and problem solving abilities. It's no wonder why we are cranky when we are tired. Chiara Cirelli (a neuroscientist at the Wisconsin Institute for Sleep and Consciousness) tells us, “Every cognitive function to some extent seems to be affected by sleep loss.” So, what better way to improve symptoms of sleepiness than by training your brain with Nuerofeedback which directly  addresses symptoms for each individual client by focusing on certain parts of the brain that need strengthening. Using certain electrode site placement on the head and frequency levels, people report improvements in falling asleep, staying asleep and quality of sleep after the recommended 20 sessions of Neurofeedback.  These sessions in turn improve a healthy lifestyle as lack of sleep can induce overproduction of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, and can lead to obesity. Even those who get 6 or less hours of sleep per night are at higher risk for depression, psychosis, and stroke. Neurofeedback has not only been reported to help with sleeplessness but also these exact diagnoses. 

A common symptom of ADHD is daytime sleepiness (Timimi & Leo, 2009). This symptom served as a predictor for homework problems and academic impairment in adolescents with ADHD (Langberg, Dvorsky, Marshall, & Evans, 2013). Those with Autism have also having difficulty falling asleep and experience disturbed sleep once they do. ASD has also been linked to anxiety and depression. Neurofeedback addresses any dysregulated state of the brain and research has shown it improves many symptoms of these disorders. 

In this case, if you snooze, you don't lose! Biofeedback is now a "Level 1 - Best Support" for Attention and Hyperactivity behaviors or ADD/ADHD interventions based on The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Other treatments such as Behavioral Therapy and medications are considered "Level 1- Best Support" treatments as well. Based on the dysregulation model, neurofeedback addresses common symptoms of ADHD like inattentiveness and impulsiveness by "brain training" and helping to regulate brain activity. Not only can neurofeedback address behavioral, academic and emotional symptoms, it can help regulate our sleep to allow for the full potential of " playtime of the brain" (Finkel, 2018). Sleep Help guides and tips are a great place to start, and if you'd like more information on how neurofeedback can improve quality of sleep, contact us today. 

~ Written by Hannah Berry, M.Ed.

References: Finkel, Michael. (2018). "While we sleep, our mind goes on an amazing journey." National Geographic, Aug. 2018.

Langberg, J. M., Dvorsky, M. R., Marshall, S. and Evans, S. W. (2013). Clinical implications of daytime sleepiness for the academic performance of middle school‐aged adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. J Sleep Res, 22: 542-548. doi:10.1111/jsr.12049

Timimi, S., & Leo, J. (2009). Rethinking ADHD: From brain to culture. Palgrave Macmillan.

Neurofeedback and Sleep

We know that sleep is a major factor in maintaining our general health.  For our mental health, sleep is essential.  So, how do so many people get by with sleeping poorly, waking up multiple times, having difficulty falling asleep, and generally not sleeping enough? 

In short, they don't. The longer story is that over time, the body compensates and adjusts to whatever sleep patterns they have, although there are negative affects to this.  The body and mind require sleep to rejuvenate, reorganize, refresh, and essentially recharge the batteries so when the necessary amount of sleep is lacking, the body is not functioning at it's best.  In fact, various parts of the body will start to lose efficient functioning such as the immune system and ability to concentrate.  Any time more stress is added, the body typically requires more sleep to recharge from the stress.  As most of you probably know, we experience some form of stress on a weekly basis.  That means sleep is extremely important.

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Many people have tried all the suggested recommendations for sleep hygiene: have a bedtime routine, no electronics before bed, give yourself time to relax, write down worries or "To Do's" if your mind is racing, and so on.  So what do you do if you just cannot sleep? The easy answer is Neurofeedback.  In our experiences here at San Diego Center for Neurofeedback, sleep has been the first symptom to be decreased. Sometimes sleep changes after the first couple sessions!  Imagine  the energy, patience, and motivation you would have after a few great nights of sleep!

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 It may seem like Neurofeedback is magical, however it is not.  Your brain is very powerful and can learn to correct these sleep issues for you.  All you have to do is sit down and watch a video game.  Typically neurofeedback, or brain training, takes 20-40 sessions before your treatment is completed depending on the symptoms, issues, and unique brains.  During this time, the training is a slow and steady progress.  Like going to the gym, you notice that pants are fitting differently and that you feel better, but because it's training you don't see the actual changes being made.  Sometimes sleep issues are corrected within a few sessions and you may only need 10 sessions for lasting effects, other times sleep may need the typical amount of sessions. 

We can help you train your brain for better sleep today.  Why add stress and more hardship on your health?  Why wait?

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