01 Jul A sleeping cap for Insomnia!
If you have trouble going to sleep or staying asleep then chances are you have experienced one of the most annoying and frustrating sleeping disorders – Insomnia! The Sleep Health Foundation estimate that approximately 1 in 3 people in Australia suffer from at least a mild form of insomnia. Currently there is a number of non-medical and medical treatment options available (see list below), however, the future treatment for insomnia may come in the form of a sleeping cap.
A study conducted in 2011 by the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine found that as people who suffer from insomnia tend to have higher than normal activity in the frontal lobes of their brains. This extra brain activity could prevent sleep due to the increase in the brains temperature. The body’s circadian rhythm regulates sleep and wakefulness keeping the body warm during the day and lowering the temperature at night to sleep. For people who suffer from insomnia the lowering of the temperature, for the brain, at night may not occur due to the increased brain activity. Therefore they suggested that the cooling of the brain would lower body temperature and assist people with insomnia sleep.
Following this ideology, The Cerêve Sleep System has developed a sleeping cap that could potentially treat insomnia. The prescriptive device has recently just received FDA approval for commercial release after a series of successful clinical trials. The sleeping cap is designed to reduce sleep latency to Stage 1 and Stage 2 for people suffering from insomnia. In people with insomnia research has found that the frontal cortex stays active. This activity which is often described as a “racing mind” can prevent sufferers from getting deeper, more restorative sleep. How the Cerêve Sleep System proclaims to work is by gently cooling the forehead (location of the frontal cortex) within a clinically proven therapeutic range in order to reduce this brain activity.
Until these caps become available, below are a number of non-medical and medical treatment options available now:
Non-medical treatment options aim to break an unhealthy association between the bedroom and wakefulness and may involve the following sleep behavioural adjustments;
- Relaxation training – breathing exercises, meditation techniques, guided imagery
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – changing sleep behaviours by setting a regular bedtimes and wake time, eliminating afternoon naps if they disrupt night time sleep
- Stimulus control – going to bed only when you are sleepy and getting out of bed if you’ve been awake for 20 minutes or more
Medical treatment options may include non-prescription and prescribed medications and it is recommended to consult with your doctor before taking a sleeping aid.
Published on June 7, 2016 – Sleep Review – the journal for sleep specialists.