Insomnia apps are valuable tools in the battle against sleeplessness, a condition that plagues up to one in four Americans. In fact, insomnia is reaching epidemic proportions world-wide.People are tossing and turning and burning the midnight oil everywhere, especially in the developed world. This sleep deprivation is having serious effects on mental as well as physical health and is impacting productivity negatively.
What makes insomnia apps particularly useful in the fight against sleeplessness is their accessibility. Good insomnia apps,delivered via tablet or cell phone, provide specialist, always-available sleep guidance in the intimacy of people’s bedrooms. And they aren’t nice-to-have fads. Sleep apps tap into the latest scientific insights to help people overcome insomnia. Many insomnia apps use meditation as an effective behavioural intervention to induce sleep and improve well being.
How meditation affects sleep
A study published by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that patients saw improvements in subjective sleep quality while practicing meditation. People slept longer, woke less often during the night and reported better sleep quality when they used meditation. The principal investigator in the study, Dr Ramadevi Gourineni, explains that insomnia is a form of hyperarousal from which people suffer throughout the day, not just at night. Practicing deep relaxation during the day alleviates the intensity of arousal and allows for better sleep at night.
Another study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2015 concluded that the use of community-accessible mindfulness awareness practices improved people’s sleep quality more effectively than if they simply paid more attention to sleep hygiene. In other words, mindfulness meditation was more effective in relieving insomnia than changing poor sleep habits or establishing a set bedtime routine.
Insomnia apps offer insomnia sufferers cheap, accessible access to the sleep-inducing tools that science acknowledges. Insomnia apps often combine mindfulness meditation with sleep analysis tools that unlock the secrets of shuteye and help people see their sleep cycles in detail. Relaxing sounds, sleep stories, guided meditations and relaxing breathing techniques are all features of these insomnia apps.
The future of sleep therapy
As the world population becomes more sleep deprived in an always-on world, digital sleep therapy will play an increasingly important role in helping people come to rest. Sleeplessness is a real health threat, not a bogeyman used to scare children. There is no doubt anymore that children can only develop optimally if they sleep enough. In fact, even adults who sleep fewer than six hours a night run the risk of developing diabetes and obesity or becoming depressed, even psychotic.
In the future smart insomnia apps and biosensors will marry the power of artificial intelligence with a growing understanding of human biology and neurology to deliver tailor-made solutions for achieving forty winks. It is not inconceivable that smart nano-tracker implants will signal information about hormonal levels, REM sleep cycles and circadian rhythms to devices that will be able to administer therapeutic interventions. Nor is it far-fetched to envisage that access to devices monitoring synaptic activity during dream states will no longer be limited to the realm of sleep research labs. REM sleep, for example, regulates mood and consolidates memories, so a better understanding of our night-time flights of madness could help us live happier and healthier lives.