ATLANTA -- Debbie Kemsey, 65, is tired of struggling through sleepless nights.
"It takes me at least two hours to fall asleep after I turn everything off. I wake 8 to 10 times a night," she told 11Alive's Jennifer Leslie. "Anyone who really suffers from insomnia knows that it affects everything."
Kemsey spent seven nights in the sleep lab at NeuroTrials Research in Atlanta, where she was hooked up to wires that monitor brain activity, muscle movement and quality of sleep.
She was there to take part in an ongoing clinical study of a new drug that could help older people with insomnia.
"It's not normal to have problems sleeping, and it's not a normal part of the aging process," Dr. Russell Rosenberg, a clinical psychologist and board certified sleep specialist who founded NeuroTrials Research, said.
Rosenberg leads a team of researchers studying the effectiveness and safety of the drug.
As with any clinical study, this one will examine potential side effects.
It's too early in the highly regulated FDA approval process to reveal the name to the public, but he said the drug is promising.
"What this medication does is calms that part of the brain involved in the wakeup system or wake-signaling and allows the brain to go to sleep, versus putting it to sleep or putting more meds in the areas of the brain that support sleep itself," he explained.
Kemsey said she believes the drug helped her sleep longer.
"There will be a time when I will take the name of this drug to my doctor and tell him that I want you to prescribe this for me," she added.
Rosenberg said the FDA approval could take another year to 18 months.
This is an ongoing study that's open to men 65 or older and women 55 or older who have experienced trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep more than three times a week for more than three months.
Compensation is available for time and travel for those who qualify and participate.