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Insomnia: a scientific trick to fight it

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Insomnia: a scientific trick to fight it

Some scientists have discovered that insomnia can also be fought with a small but essential habit…

Over a third of the world‘s population is affected by insomnia and sleep disorders. He is alone in Italy one person out of 5 suffers from it, not infrequently in a chronic form, with the symptoms persisting even a year after diagnosis in 80% of cases. A serious problem, given that insomnia is associated with long-term health problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and depression. The methods to combat it are different and often require the intervention of a sleep specialist. But even small habits can make a difference: a recent study by the University of Indiana (USA), has discovered, for example, that a certain habit, adopted while trying to fall asleep, can intensify insomnia symptoms and increase the use of sleep medications. What habit are we talking about? According to Spencer Dawson, professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences of the College of Arts and Sciences, the first thing to do to manage insomnia effectively is… avoid checking the clock. In fact, staring at it only aggravates the symptoms.

A trick against insomnia: study

Dawson and his team focused on a sample of nearly 5,000 patients treated at a sleep clinic, asking them to complete a questionnaire about the severity of their insomnia, their use of sleeping pills, and the time they spent monitoring their behavior while they were trying to fall asleep. The scientists also asked the volunteers to report any psychiatric diagnoses, to determine how the factors influenced each other. The result? “We found out that tracking the passage of time is reflected in the use of sleeping medications, because it aggravates the symptoms of insomnia,” Dawson explains. sleep: the more stressed we are, the more difficult it will be to fall asleep”. As a result, the more frustration with insomnia grows, the more likely you are to turn to sleep medications in an attempt to get it under control.

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Insomnia: what to do

According to the authors, the study shows that simple behavioral interventions can help those who struggle with insomnia. Dawson admits that he himself recommends it to every new patient when they first meet. “One thing a lot of people would have to do would be to turn around, cover their watch, take off their smartwatch, and keep their phone out of the way so they’re not constantly checking the time,” he comments. “After all, there is no situation in which looking at the clock is particularly useful”.


The reason why keeping an eye on the passing minutes will only aggravate insomnia must be sought in the frustration you feel in not being able to fall asleep as time goes by. The researchers’ next step will be to examine the trend of these clinical symptoms and behaviors, to test whether reducing frustration by limiting the use of the clock can already reduce the propensity to take sleep medications by itself.

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