DENVER (CBS4) – Chronic insomnia affects one in five Americans at some time or another and researchers at National Jewish Health in Denver are working to find a cure.
Insomnia is an issue that can lead to memory problems, depression and even heart disease.
It affects some people at least three times a week for at least three months.
People suffering from it like Amy Hopkins would love a good night’s sleep.
“I’m a mom, I work, we’re all tired all the time,” said Hopkins.
She has suffered from chronic insomnia for as long as she can remember.
“It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two to three hours to fall asleep. I will just lie in bed and toss and turn and once I do fall asleep I tend to wake up a lot,” said Hopkins.
Hopkins has tried over-the-counter sleep aids and used to nap in the afternoon until she had children.
“Dozing off for 20 or 30 minutes and letting them run around without supervision is not really an option,” said Hopkins.
A year ago she joined a study at National Jewish Health run by Dr. Jack Edinger. Researchers hooked her up, monitored her sleep and then they worked with her.
They first tried behavioral therapy that included getting her to turn off electronics, stick to a bedtime and a relaxing ritual. For the next six months she took a generic form of the insomnia drug Ambien.
The study was comparing the effects of behavior therapy against medication.
“I think the jury’s out on which one’s going to win yet. We’ll see,” said Edinger.
Hopkins reports that she has had success with both but still isn’t getting her full 40 winks.
“Probably more like 30, but I used to get five to 10 so I think I’ve come a long way,” said Hopkins.
She takes Ambien occasionally but would like to rely solely on good sleep habits.
Edinger has a total of two more years for his study and hopes to eventually offer a cure to insomniacs.
Researchers are looking for more subjects to participate in the study.