Advanced. How to overcome insomnia?

“There are solutions to insomnia”, ensures the New Scientist Colin Espie, sleep neuroscientist at Oxford University. And that’s good news! Especially when you know that about a third of the population regularly has difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep a full night, according to several studies.

The scientific weekly thus devotes the front page of its edition of the 1er October to advances in the knowledge and treatment of insomnia. In particular, we learn that we now have a better overall understanding of what causes it – hyperarousal and ruminations, in particular – and that effective psychological therapies are now available.

“Scholars agree that insomnia has varying causes and consequences for each individual. However, over time it may be possible to identify different types of insomnia and determine which treatments will be most effective.” writes the weekly.

Until now, what was offered to people suffering from sleep disorders was above all small sleeping pills. However, according to a recent meta-analysis of 150 clinical trials, whose findings were published in The Lancet, only two drugs out of thirty have been shown to be effective in the short and long term (eszopiclone – available in France – and lemborexant). The problem with these products is that they come with side effects and the risk of addiction.

Applications and algorithms

Mere observance of good “sleep hygiene” (having good bedding, avoiding drinking coffee in the afternoon or watching TV in bed, etc.) is not enough, as have already shown works. In contrast, cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, or CBTI (for ccognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia) has been shown to be effective for 70% of people [l’ayant suivi]and 40% are in remission according to recent studies”, report it New Scientist. Another, MBTI, or mindfulness and behavioral therapy for insomnia, has also provenincluding after the end of therapy.

Problem: there are few therapists trained in these techniques. To overcome this lack, some see our smartphones as new allies. Not thanks to their screens, whose blue light they emit has harmful effects on sleep, but thanks to specific applications and algorithms based on artificial intelligence to adapt to user behavior. .

This is the case of apps (in English) like Sleepio or SleepSpace, which track data from the person’s phone or connected watch and offer a personalized form of CBTI. Through the speakers of a smartphone, they can emit short bursts of sound, designed to induce the right slow brainwave frequencies associated with sleep. Or they can still be connected to smart light sources that will change the hue to match the stage of your circadian rhythm. On the other hand, the New Scientist does not at all address the question of the malicious use that could be made of the saving of this personal health data.

Be that as it may, the weekly ensures, by way of conclusion:

“Even though we don’t yet have a quick and effective solution to sleepless nights, soon most insomniacs will be able to access quality, proven therapies, without having to take potentially addictive drug treatments.”

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Advanced. How to overcome insomnia?


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