As we move along in development of SleepQ, I thought it would be helpful to identify who might benefit most from sleep training with SleepQ.
A 2005 survey found that about 10-15% of adults have chronic insomnia. This is the on-going type, unrelenting, where sleeping pills don’t work (or are not wanted) and phrases like, “My insomnia seems to have a life of its own” and “I’ve tried everything” are commonly heard. What may have started with a temporary erratic sleeping schedule caused by one of life’s twists or turns has become a big problem. Confidence in sleep has plummeted. Sleep is less predictable. The time window for falling asleep becomes very short: “I fall asleep on the couch watching TV, then later race to fall asleep in bed because if I miss my window I’m up all night.”
As a relatively active person, the concept of sleep training made a lot of sense to me. Most insomniacs I educate clinically do not want to be told for the millionth time that caffeine and alcohol are bad for your sleep. Or that they need to exercise more (“I’m too tired all the time for that!”), or sleeping-in is bad (“I have to get SOME sleep sometime!”). SleepQ is a way to take control of on-going sleeping trouble in a very direct, tangible way. Following along with the successful research protocol from 2007 and 2012, the first step is to get sleepy. In the research, this was done by asking the subjects to get no more than 5 hours the night before training. With the SleepQ app, you can just wait until you have a rough night (probably not a long wait for some of you!). Then, choose a couple hours before bed (late afternoon or early evening when natural sleepiness is high) to do some sleep trials. Each trial will give you the opportunity to allow yourself a chance to fall asleep, briefly, and then get feedback as to whether or not you fell asleep. This feedback, over successive sleep trials, is how you gain confidence in your sleep. We are even designing the SleepQ app to 1) automatically adjust the training intensity, and 2) display summary results about how well you performed during training!
So, are you one of the 10-15% of adults I described? Learn to fall asleep on Q!