By Tushar Patel
Vice President, US Sleep-Wake Commercial and Global Strategic Marketing, Neurology Business Group
Each March, many Americans look forward to advancing our clocks by one hour as Daylight Saving Time (DST) comes to an end. When we “spring forward,” we are essentially moving an hour of morning daylight to the evening hours, which, for many, is a welcome change that results in increased social activity and the semblance of longer days. However, this minor time change may often lead to short-term sleep disturbances. Many people take healthy sleep cycles for granted until they’re suddenly disturbed. Such disruptions to our sleep cycle provide just a brief glimpse into what people with insomnia might experience on a regular basis.
Prioritizing sleep to improve health and well-being is particularly relevant this week, as our bodies adjust to different hours of daylight. This week also marks Sleep Awareness Week®, the National Sleep Foundation’s (NSF) public education campaign that celebrates sleep health.
For millions of Americans, long-term struggles with sleep are indeed a clinical condition, called insomnia. Insomnia is characterized by difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or returning to sleep. If untreated, insomnia can persist for months or more. It not only negatively impacts how we feel the next day, but can also have long-term consequences on health and well-being, even contributing to the progression of diseases such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s. Poor sleep quality also has been shown to lead to memory troubles, difficulty learning, poor judgment, and decreased concentration.1,2,3
During Sleep Awareness Week, we encourage everyone to take time to better understand their sleep needs and patterns, and to establish behaviors that contribute to sleep success. There are many steps people can take, such as creating a bedroom environment conducive to sleep and keeping a sleep journal, that can contribute to improved sleep. If symptoms of insomnia persist, it is important to speak to a health care provider, who can help to identify approaches, from lifestyle changes, behavioral or psychological interventions and prescription medications, that may be beneficial in treating an individual’s insomnia.
Eisai has recently created several interactive tools for people living with insomnia, which focus on assessing sleep patterns and establishing healthy routines:
“My Sleep Log” Amazon Alexa Sleep Tracker: Keeping sleep diaries has been shown to help people establish healthier sleep patterns. Instead of writing in a traditional paper sleep diary, this tool for Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa allows people to track their sleep using artificial intelligence. By saying “open my sleep log,” they will be prompted to respond to a few questions about their sleep. The data can help show them how sleep affects – and is affected by – their daily life.
Insomnia Visualizer: Insomnia can feel isolating, even though it is a common problem. This tool creates a personalized, shareable video that helps visually explain how insomnia affects that person’s life. Video content is tailored based on individual responses to a few brief questions. The video is designed to be shared on social media and electronically, and may help family, friends and health care providers to better understand what people with insomnia are going through.
Personalized Bedtime Routine Creator: There are many activities and environmental factors that can be adjusted to help foster a relaxing environment and establish a calming bedtime routine. This web tool creates printable, customized checklists based on people’s responses to a few simple questions about their existing routines, which serve as personalized guides on how to improve their particular habits and surroundings in support of optimal sleep.
Our goal is to help people achieve better sleep. As part of Eisai’s hhc mission, we are working to address the unmet needs of people seeking to overcome the challenges of living with insomnia, and hope to help them fall asleep, stay asleep and wake ready to take on the day.
Institute of Medicine. Sleep disorders and sleep deprivation: An unmet public health problem. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. 2006.
Ohayon MM, et al. Epidemiology of insomnia: what we know and what we still need to learn. Sleep Med Rev. 2002;6(2):97-111.
Pase MP, Himali JJ, Grima NA, et al. Sleep architecture and the risk of incident dementia in the community. Neurology. 2017;89(12):1244-1250.