The National Sleep Foundation reports that 30-40% of people experience insomnia over a 12-month period. If you have troubles falling asleep, wake up too early, or feel tired when you wake up, you might be suffering from insomnia.
You should not worry, because a recent research concluded that you could be sleeping without knowing it. And, this surprising new discovery may help insomnia.
What’s in the Research?
A team of researchers analyzed the sleep patterns of 62 people. 32 subjects experienced some sleep disorder, and 30 subjects did not report any problems with their sleep patterns.
Polysomnography is the method that the scientists used to analyze the brain wave patterns of the subjects. Once the brain waves indicated that the subjects were asleep, they received an injection with a radioactive tracer. This helps the scientists determine which brain neurons are active during sleep.
After taking brain scans to locate brain activity, and asking the participants about their sleeping experience, the scientists arrived at the following results:
- Insomniacs said that they were awake, although polysomnography showed they were asleep, but they had increased activity in the brain area responsible for awareness.
- Those with normal sleep patterns said that they were sound asleep earlier than recorded by polysomnography.
What’s the Catch?
It’s all about the inhibitors in our brain. Both normal people and those suffering from insomnia experience inhibition process when falling asleep. However, insomniacs seem to require greater amount of inhibitory activity before they feel the state of deep sleep.
These findings may help us understand sleep misperception and insomnia better. For example, the treatment plan for insomnia might target processes that impair the inhibitory activity in the brain. For now, according to scientists, you can try mindfulness meditation to improve your sleep patterns.
Do you suffer from poor sleep but are on the fence about medications? This new discovery may help insomnia and improve your overall health without any medication.