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In the shadows of the Daylight Saving Time change, we observe #InsomniaAwareness

Scientists are still looking for better solutions for nightly sleeplessness, but they are getting closer, thanks to burgeoning research in neuroscience.

Insomniac watching TV in an attempt to fall asleep

Today is Insomnia Awareness Day, not ironically following the day when we spring our clocks forward by an hour and, at least metaphorically, lose an hour of sleep.

Insomnia may be a symptom you experience temporarily this week as your body and brain adjust to this incremental shift in circadian rhythms. The change in light has a far more powerful impact on sleeping patterns than we are aware of, so cut yourself some slack this week if you’re groggy during the day and struggling to sleep at night.

Most importantly, please don’t drive if you’re sleepy. This week, rates for motor vehicle crashes that can be traced back to drowsy driving, falling asleep at the wheel, or general driver fatigue are at their peak when compared with other times during the year.

The Problem of Sleeplessness

The modern-day curse of insomnia

MAR 9 || The Mighty
Inside the Mind of Someone With Hypermobile EDS at Night (commentary)
From the commentary: “As an occupational therapist with hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, “painsomnia” (pain-induced insomnia) is something I come across a lot.”

MAR 8 || The Science of Us
Sleeping Through the Night Is a Relatively New Invention
From the article: “Ekirch argues that the reason so many of us experience middle-of-the-night insomnia (the kind that comes after a few hours of sleep), is that ever since electric lights reordered our sense of time, we’ve disrupted our ancestral—perhaps our evolutionary—rhythms. And while Ekirch eventually came to view the reasons for the shift from segmented to consolidated sleep as more complicated than just exposure to light—including shifts in technology, changing cultural attitudes toward work and rest, and the economic pressure to manage time more efficiently under industrial capitalism—powerful artificial lighting, he wrote, still ‘exerted the broadest and most enduring impact upon sleep’s consolidation.’ ”

FEB 3 || The Union Democrat
Costs for treating insomnia reach $62 billion worldwide
From the article: “Americans have rung up a massive sleep debt, and the bill is coming due.”

AUG 18, 2016 || Irish Tech News
Lightbulbs, alarm clocks & smart phones–the evolution of insomnia
From the article: “Light has a huge impact on setting our circadian rhythms, blue light in the mornings & red light in the evenings. Our bodies are also slow to adapt to new schedules, we’ve experienced that with jet lag or night shifts.”

AUG 8, 2016 || Forbes
Why Are So Many Of Us Sunday Night Insomniacs?
From the article: “About one in four people admit to being Sunday-night insomniacs according to one survey. What is it about Sunday nights in particular that handicaps so many of us?”


Medicating Sleeplessness

Sleeping pills and insomnia

MAR 10 || Psychiatry Advisor
Sleeping Pills May Not Aid Insomnia (:34 video)
From the video: “A new study from Consumer Reports found that of those surveyed who took sleeping aids, 18 percent were daily users and 41 percent said they had taken them for a year or longer. The Consumer Healthcare Products Association says that sleeping aids are meant to ‘treat occasional sleeplessness—not long-term sleep disorders or insomnia.’ ”

FEB 27 || SleepHub
Suvorexant is an effective treatment for insomnia
From the article: “Until now, medications for insomnia have largely focused on enhancing sleep promoting mechanisms in the brain. However, the physiology of insomnia for most people is a problem of the alertness system not switching off. In the late 1990s orexin (also called hypocretin) was discovered as one of the key neurotransmitters involved in promoting wakefulness. Since then the pharmaceutical industry has been working on developing orexin antagonists (blockers) as treatment for insomnia. Suvorexant (brand name Belsomra) is the first of these to be approved for use.”

NOV 28, 2016 || The Wall Street Journal
Can’t Get to Sleep? Lay Off the Drugs
From the article: “Doctors are steering patients to solutions other than sleep aids.”

What about supplemental melatonin?

FEB 1 || Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine
Melatonin Natural Health Products and Supplements: Presence of Serotonin and Significant Variability of Melatonin Content (abstract)
From the report: “It is important that clinicians and patients have confidence in the quality of supplements used in the treatment of sleep disorders. To address this, manufacturers require increased controls to ensure melatonin supplements meet both their label claim, and also are free from contaminants, such as serotonin.”

SEPT 27, 2016 || Sound Sleep Health
What is melatonin and how does it work? (Benefits and Usage)
From the article: “This substance has recently gained attention as the subject of new research for applications that include more than just sleep health. … But what is it, exactly?”


Insomnia across the life cycle

When children can’t sleep

NOV 2, 2016 || EMPR
Investigational Insomnia Treatment Improves Sleep in Pediatric Patients
From the article: “Neurim announced positive top-line results from its NEU_CH_7911 Phase 3 study evaluating the efficacy and safety of PedPRM (pediatric prolonged-release melatonin), an age-appropriate formulation for pediatric insomnia, designed for those with swallowing difficulties. There are currently no approved sleep medications for the pediatric population.”

OCT 11, 2016 || Newsworks
My 9-year-old has insomnia, here’s what I learned (essay)
From the essay: “The results of a study by Moore and colleagues indicated that almost one in five subjects, ages 8 to 16, reported insomnia symptoms.”

Fertility and sleeplessness

FEB 16 || Sleep Junkies
Sleep and the fertility factor: If you don’t snooze, you lose
From the article: [MEN] “Some guys may love extreme sports, but extreme sleep habits are bad news in the fertility department. Sleeping too little, say less than six hours a night, will make it a lot harder for you to “shoot live rounds” when it comes to trying to start a family.” [WOMEN] “Follicle-stimulating hormone is the body chemical responsible for regulating a woman’s reproductive cycle and ovulation. Sleep is a vital factor in production of this and other important hormones such as melatonin which protects the eggs from toxins and free radicals in the body.”

When seniors can’t sleep

MAR 11 || NDTV
Sound Stimulations May Help the Elderly Sleep Better
From the article: “A new study, conducted by the researchers at the Northwestern University, may have found a way to deal with sleep issues and suggests a new technique to help your grandparents sleep better.”

NOV 1, 2016 || Sleep Review
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Effective for Older People with Insomnia
From the article: “In their study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, the researchers assigned 159 people to one of three treatment groups. The participants were mostly white male veterans who ranged in age from 60- to 90-years-old.”


Solving the problem of insomnia

What to do about sleepless nights

MAR 13 || Merck Engage
Light Therapy for Insomnia
From the article: “Here are a few things you should make sure you’re doing before seeing someone about whether you have a sleeping disorder.”

FEB 15 || USA Today
Can’t sleep? When is it time to seek professional help?
From the article: “Here are a few things you should make sure you’re doing before seeing someone about whether you have a sleeping disorder.”

NOV 21, 2016 || Cleveland Clinic
Insomnia: Your 3 Worst Ways and 3 Best Ways to Fall Asleep
From the article: “Have trouble falling asleep? Wake up at 3 a.m. for no reason? Insomnia can rob you of energy the next day, fog your thinking and put you in harm’s way on the road. … If you’re relying on common crutches for sleeplessness, they won’t help your cause. Here, our sleep experts share their favorite and least favorite remedies for insomnia.”

OCT 3, 2016 || Newswise
Alcoholism Worsens Insomnia, but There Is Hope
From the article: “Individuals with alcohol dependence (AD) often have sleep-related disorders such as insomnia, circadian-rhythm sleep disorders, breathing-related sleep disorders, movement disorders, and parasomnias such as sleep-related eating disorder, sleepwalking, nightmares, sleep paralysis, and REM sleep behavior disorder.”

SEPT 13, 2016 || Sound Sleep Health
Why is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) recommended for insomnia?
From the article: “You don’t have to struggle and fall into hopelessness as a result of chronic insomnia. Suffering from any of the kinds of insomnia discussed here is reason enough to seek help. … Treatments today are far more effective and less risky than they were in the past, and sometimes they have the added benefit of providing relief not only for sleep deficit but for some coexisting health problems.”

SEPT 7, 2016 || Sound Sleep Health
Ignore insomnia at your peril: Side effects & consequences
From the article: “You don’t have to struggle and fall into hopelessness as a result of chronic insomnia. Suffering from any of the kinds of insomnia discussed here is reason enough to seek help. … Treatments today are far more effective and less risky than they were in the past, and sometimes they have the added benefit of providing relief not only for sleep deficit but for some coexisting health problems.”

JUN 9, 2016 || The Guardian
Wide awake at 3am? Meet the insomniacs who learned to sleep better
From the article: “When we asked for your stories about insomnia, we heard from 147 self-described poor sleepers about how long they had struggled and how they dealt with it.”

The science of sleeplessness

FEB 24 || The Daily Mail
The world’s insomniacs revealed: Interactive tool maps the countries that have trouble sleeping (includes interactive video)
From the article: “A new interactive tool has been released, which shows how many people around the world are also unable to sleep at any given time. Based on people tweeting about their insomnia, the map is designed to help people who struggle to fall asleep to feel less alone in their plight.”

FEB 23 || MDJ Online
Sleep expert talks about insomnia, trials
From the article: “Sandy Springs-based NeuroTrials Research wants to help you sleep better. ‘If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep for three nights in a week, there is an issue,’ said Russell Rosenberg, Ph.D. Rosenberg is a sleep medicine specialist, cofounder and CEO of NeuroTrials, a nationally recognized clinical research site within a 12,000-square-foot facility that includes a 15-bed, state-of-the-art sleep lab and inpatient clinical research unit.”

DEC 9, 2016 || SLEEP
Insomnia Patients With Objective Short Sleep Duration Have a Blunted Response to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (study)
From the study: “Six months post-CBT-I treatment, individuals with insomnia and normal sleep duration ≥6 h fared significantly better on clinical improvement milestones than did those with insomnia and short sleep duration <6 h.”

NOV 5, 2016 || TribLive
Pitt insomnia study finds some regions of the brain don’t shut off completely during sleep
From the article: “The study compared brain activity of people with insomnia and people without it during and after sleep. Researchers found that the insomniacs had higher-than-normal activity in the affected regions during sleep and lower-than-normal activity while awake.”

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