Neurofeedback Therapy in Pensacola: Helping Insomnia and Sleep Related Issues
As a child growing up, you probably heard over and over about the importance of getting a good night’s sleep. It may not have made a lot of sense as a child why parents always talked about the importance of sleep. However, something changes as we become adults and we experience the reality of a lack of sleep. We realize our time is limited to just 24 hours in a day and it seems like everything takes our time. For many of us, the only time left for “me time” is late at night when we should be sleeping but choose not to or simply can’t for a variety of reasons.
It’s not uncommon to realize at a certain point in your adult life that not getting enough sleep is having a negative impact on how you think, feel, and function. You may find when you aren’t sleeping well, your energy levels are low, you are irritable, you can’t seem to concentrate and even simple decisions are difficult.
The Sleep Foundation recommend adults get seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Many consider getting the recommended amount of sleep impossible when you factor in work, kids, family responsibilities and social commitments. The reality for almost a third of adults in the U.S. is getting less sleep than they need. This can have detrimental effects to our brain, our thoughts, our behavior, and our health.
Sleep Deprivation and Sleep Debt
Sleep deprivation, or getting less than the needed amount of sleep, can have severe consequences on a person’s physical and mental health. Cognitive impairment, slower reaction times, difficulty making decisions, and personality changes are all common effects of sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation can also increase the risk of accidents due to impaired judgement and delayed reaction time.
What happens when we have several nights in a row, or even weeks, without getting the sleep we need? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), refers to not getting adequate sleep over a series of days as sleep debt. That means if you get less than 7 hours of sleep a night for two consecutive nights, you are racking up sleep debt. According to the CDC, as sleep debt builds, brain and body functioning deteriorate.
A recent sleep study shows 7 out of 10 people are not getting the restorative sleep that one needs. Restorative sleep mostly occurs in the deeper stages of sleep and allow the brain and body to restore itself physically and cognitively. Sleep expert, Dr. Carol Ash, says sleep should be a priority and poor sleep can lead to obesity, insulin resistance, heart disease, strokes, heart attacks, depression, and anxiety.
LACK OF RESTORATIVE/DEEP SLEEP CAN LEAD TO:
- MOOD DISORDERS
- MEMORY PROBLEMS
- IMAIRED JUDGEMENT
We all have difficulty fully engaging in life when we are tired. Sleep provides essential benefits to the brain such as consolidating and storing memories, processing emotional experiences, and replenishing glucose, which the brain depends on for fuel. Inadequate sleep and fatigue have been conversely linked to poor judgement, lack of focus and impaired creativity as well as having a detrimental effect on relationships and overall quality of life.
Neurofeedback Therapy in Pensacola offers an alternative approach to improving insomnia or other sleep-related issues without medications. Neurofeedback therapy is a natural way to help with insomnia and sleep related issues. It is non-invasive, drug free, and has long lasting benefits. It can also help identify and address underlying brain patterns contributing to sleep issues, such as brain over arousal or brain under arousal.
Neurofeedback Therapy in Pensacola Can Help Sleep Issues/Insomnia:
- BRAIN OVER AROUSAL
- BRAIN UNDER AROUSAL
- DAYTIME SLEEPINESS
- DIFFICULTY FALLING ASLEEP/STAYING ASLEEP
- NIGHTMARES/NIGHT TERRORS
- RESTLESS LEG SYNDROME
- SLEEP PARALYSIS
Brain Arousal and Sleep
Do you wake up feeling negative most mornings, fall asleep during meetings, have daytime sleepiness, suffer from nightmares, have trouble staying focused or following a conversation? If so, you may have an under-aroused brain. An under-aroused brain is under activated, or too slowed down. People with an under-aroused brain may also have anxiety, try to keep busy taking on excess responsibilities, engage in risky behaviors or have chronic worry.
Do you have a hard time falling asleep or wake up in the middle of the night and have a hard time falling back to sleep? If so, you may have an over aroused brain. An over aroused brain is over activated, leading to a person feeling “ramped up” as if they had too much caffeine. Ironically, those with an over aroused brain usually dislike caffeine because their brains are already overstimulated. An individual with an over aroused brain may sometimes be described as “on edge” or “anxious”.
Arousal when referencing sleep is when a person becomes aroused or alert to an extent during the sleep cycle. If arousal occurs frequently, it can have a negative impact on getting a good night’s sleep and prevent the amount of “deep sleep” that your body needs to recharge.
Do you have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or frequently wake up in the middle of the night?
What is insomnia?
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that affects millions of people around the world. It is characterized by difficulty falling asleep, waking up too early, or feeling unrested after sleep. Insomnia can have many causes including stress, anxiety, depression, medications, caffeine consumption, alcohol consumption, jet lag and shift work. Treatment for insomnia vary but usually involve lifestyle changes such as avoiding caffeine late in the day and establishing a regular sleep routine.
Types of Insomnia
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that affects the quality of life for millions of people around the world. It can be divided into two main categories: primary (idiopathic) and secondary (comorbid). Primary insomnia doesn’t have a clear cause, while secondary insomnia is related to underlying causes such as chronic pain, mental health conditions, shift work, and certain medications.
At some point in life, insomnia affects 30% to 50% of adults. Insomnia can be short-term (acute) or long-term (chronic) and may come and go. Acute insomnia lasts from one night to a few weeks, while chronic insomnia occurs at least three nights a week for three months or more.
Symptoms of insomnia include difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep. Acute (short term) insomnia refers to short-term sleeping difficulties and affect 15% to 20% of people, while chronic (long-term) insomnia affects about 10% of adults. Onset insomnia describes difficulty falling asleep, while maintenance insomnia refers to trouble remaining asleep once you get to sleep. Behavioral insomnia in children consists of trouble falling asleep, refusing to go to bed, or both.
Over the Counter Sleeping Pills & Prescription Medication for Insomnia
Sleep is an essential component of our physical health and mental wellbeing. Many of us experience insomnia or nightmares at some point in life. The lack of quality sleep becomes a problem that affects our daily mood, energy level, relationships, and performance to the point that it requires some type of help or intervention.
Many people who struggle with nightmares, insomnia, or other sleep issues turn to over the counter sleeping pills or prescription medication for help. Sleep medications can be helpful for those who are having difficulty sleeping for a short time. However, it is important to be aware of the potential side effects that may come with taking these medications. Common side effects of sleep medication include drowsiness, dizziness, headache, nausea, dry mouth, and constipation. In some cases, more serious side effects such as confusion, memory loss, depression or anxiety can occur.
Over the counter sleeping pills and prescription medication often become habit forming and do not get to the root cause of the issue. Sleep medications should only be used as a short-term solution and not as a long-term solution for insomnia and other sleep related issues. It is important to be aware of the potential side-effects before taking sleeping pills so that you can make an informed decision about whether they are right for you.
Treatment of Insomnia Without Medication
It can be overwhelming trying to determine how to find the best treatment for sleep issues including insomnia or nightmares. A recent search on Google, “help for sleep issues in Pensacola, Florida”, generated a list of over 20 different sleep clinics, doctors, and specialists located in Pensacola, Florida.
In Pensacola, residents are turning to Emerald Coast NeuroFeedback to address sleep issues such as troubling nightmares and insomnia. Neurofeedback uses brainwave technology to teach the brain how to regulate itself. An over-aroused brain or an under-aroused brain can immensely affect how well one sleeps. Neurofeedback teaches the brain to generate appropriate patterns of activity during restful/relaxing states.
Emerald Coast NeuroFeedback in Pensacola has shown to be a safe and effective approach for dealing with a variety of sleep issues. The benefits of neurofeedback for sleep issues may lead to better mood, increased productivity at work, home and school, improved relationships, and overall quality of life.
Neurofeedback: A Safe Alternative to Medication for Sleep Issues
What is Neurofeedback Therapy?
Neurofeedback therapy is a form of biofeedback that involves training the brain; also known as EEG biofeedback. It is a type of therapy that uses sensors to measure electrical activity in the brain. This information is then used to train the brain to function more efficiently. Like how we train our muscles; by training our brains, we can reach and stay in desired states.
Neurofeedback has been found to be effective for treating conditions such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, PTSD, and even autism spectrum disorder. It can also help a variety of sleep issues, which leads to improved focus and concentration, reduce stress levels, and improved mental health overall.
Five Benefits of Neurofeedback Therapy for Sleep Issues
- Non-invasive and drug free: Unlike many sleep medications, neurofeedback therapy teaches the brain without chemicals. It is a safe alternative to medications without side effects and the risk of becoming habit forming.
- Improve sleep quality and duration of sleep: Neurofeedback therapy can improve the quality of sleep and the amount of time an individual spends sleeping, which leads to feeling more rested both physically and cognitively.
- Identify and address contributing factors of sleep issues: Neurofeedback therapy can help identify and address sleep issues, such as brain over arousal, brain under arousal, or brain instability.
- Long lasting benefits: Neurofeedback therapy teaches your brain to regulate itself which leads to long lasting results, unlike medication. When one stops taking a drug, the symptoms return as the brain has not been taught to do anything, but rather has just been put in a state per the drug.
- Can improve issues such as anxiety and depression: sleep is vital for restoring our body and mind. Because it is so integral, it is often a serious marker for difficulties with mood, mental health, and overall quality of life. Improving our capacity for quality sleep can have wide reaching benefits to our mental health.
Train Your Brain to Sleep Better
Pamela Downey, MS, LMHC, at Emerald Coast NeuroFeedback, regularly takes calls from clients with anxiety, depression and sleep issues. “Between our Pensacola and Fort Walton Beach offices, we see many clients with anxiety and/or depression. Nearly all of them have some type of sleep issue as well. When someone is struggling with anxiety or depression, it is common to have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. Many people are just learning of neurofeedback and don’t realize how wide reaching the benefits can be. When we train the brain to function better overall, this naturally tends to improve other areas, including sleep.”
She went on to explain that many clients are interested in an alternative to medication to help with anxiety, depression, and sleep issues, “We have clients who have been taking medication for years and have concerns about the long-term effects of the medications. Your brain is made up of electrical and chemical systems. Medications change or alter the brain’s chemistry with chemicals. Most people are not aware that the brains electrical system can be trained with EEG biofeedback to change the brains chemistry, without risky side effects of drugs.”
Neurofeedback Therapy and Sleep Related Issues in Summary
Sleep deprivation and sleep debt have severe impacts on physical and mental health, leading to cognitive impairment, slower reaction times and other adverse effects. Brain over-arousal or brain under-arousal can lead to insomnia (difficulty staying or falling asleep), nightmares/night terrors, restlessness, or daytime sleepiness. Neurofeedback Therapy in Pensacola is a safe way to train your brain to help with insomnia and sleep-related issues without medication. With this natural yet effective treatment, you could soon find yourself improving both your physical and mental health and sleeping better than ever!