In the Healthy Living Report, Spectrum News' Bree Driscoll highlights some of the causes of insomnia and what can be done to help prevent it.
As a high-powered real estate lawyer and professor, Jane Kaplan knows how to deal with pressure. But there was one part of her life that was defeating her — the lack of sleep.
"You wake up exhausted. You go to bed worrying are you going to go to sleep?" said Kaplan.
The 74-year-old came to The Center for Sleep Medicine at New York-Presbyterian, Weill Cornell Medical Center where she underwent a sleep study.
Doctors diagnosed her with insomnia.
"Its problems either getting to sleep, staying asleep or sleep that is non-restorative," said Dr. Daniel Barone, a neurologist at New York Presbyterian.
Dr. Barone says treatments for insomnia can differ, but often include medication combined with a focus on changing bad habits.
One recommendation to treat insomnia that Dr. Barone gives is shutting off and putting away all your electronic devices 30 to 60 minutes before you go to bed.
"They emit what we call blue frequency light," said Barone. "And this blue frequency light has a very special property in that it shuts of the brains production of melatonin and Melatonin is something that our brain naturally makes, a hormone, which helps us initiate sleep."
Ironically, some of the newer treatments involve fitness trackers and online apps that help change poor sleeping patterns. Many of the apps have fees and can cost up to $1000 per month.
"I can tell you that if patients do use these as a way to really place a premium on their sleep it can help them in that regard," said Barone. "But if someone comes to me with Fitbit data I don't necessarily use that to make a medical decision on."
Kaplan says she now gets about seven hours of sleep a night.
Her new routine includes writing down any thoughts she has before bed and using a meditation app on her phone. When she needs it, she takes sleep medication.
"I feel wonderful about greeting the day. Just much better," said Kaplan.