Scientists may have found an easy, cheap way to manage insomnia

If you’ve ever suffered from insomnia, you’ll know just how draining it can be.

--- advertisement ---

When counting sheep doesn’t work and you’ve tried every natural remedy under the sun, it can be difficult to figure how to get a good night’s sleep.

And the rise of technology can mean that insomnia sufferers are torn between passing the hours of wakefulness by looking at a device, and knowing that doing so can make it even harder to get to sleep.

New research has suggested that up to 90 per cent of people in America used light-emitting devices before they go to bed, and while experts encourage users to switch off for a more restful night, many people don’t take the advice seriously or find their smartphone, tablet or e-reader too much of a lure.

Read more: Fall asleep in 7 minutes or less with these tips

Knowing that humans are unlikely to change their ways, though, researchers from the Columbia University Medical Center have some up with a new way of reducing the negative effects that late-night technology use has on insomnia sufferers.

Their solution is for sufferers to wear a pair of glasses with amber lenses while using a device before bed. While it may seem a little silly to wear darker glasses inside when watching TV, scrolling through Facebook or reading an e-book, the orange tint actually blocks the harmful blue lights that keep you awake.

According to Science Daily, 14 people with insomnia took part in the university’s study. For seven nights, the test subjects wore the glasses for two hours before bedtime. A month later, they wore clear lenses to see if there were any differences to their ability to sleep.

The results concluded that on average, the people got an extra half an hour of sleep a night when they wore the amber glasses. Participants also claimed to sleep for greater lengths of time without disruption and that the side effects of insomnia were reduced.

Research leaderAri Shechter, who’s the assistant professor of medical sciences at Columbia University’s medical centre, said the glasses could be an affordable way for sufferers to control their insomnia.

Read more: Psychologist reveals best trick to fall asleep

“Now more than ever we are exposing ourselves to high amounts of blue light before bedtime, which may contribute to or exacerbate sleep problems,” he said. “Amber lenses are affordable and they can easily be combined with other established cognitive and behavioural techniques for insomnia management.”

He also encouraged sufferers of insomnia to make use of specific settings on their smartphones and tablets, which can reduce levels of blue light before bed.

The research team’s findings are set to be published in full in next month’s Journal of Psychiatric Research.

Do you succumb to the temptation of using devices before bed? Would you wear these glasses if they helped you get more sleep?