INSOMNIA & SLEEP DISORDERS
At least 40 million Americans each year suffer from chronic, long-term sleep disorders. An additional 20 million experience occasional sleep problems.
Neurofeedback is a powerful tool for helping people fall asleep and stay asleep. Over 3000 licensed health professionals such as psychologists and MD’s now use this new technology daily with patients. As a group, they report significant and consistent improvements for client sleep problems.
It’s often remarkable how quickly sleep can improve with clients who have been to many different specialists, and have struggled with sleep for years. Falling asleep and staying asleep is clearly the job of the brain to do.
We take a comprehensive approach to helping clients with sleep. There are many options to help – from sleep medications to supplements to exercise to changing life style to changes in sleep “hygiene”. We review many different options with clients to help them assess what’s most appropriate for their problem, including several brain regulating technologies from Alpha-Stim to Brain Music.
If the problem is severe, we record a brain map to take a detailed look if there’s a specific EEG problem in the brain that is interfering with sleep.
Frankly, there just aren’t many places that take a comprehensive look at sleep. The addition of neurofeedback is powerful. Most people can train their brain to allow sleep again. The brain is fundamental to sleep – training it makes complete sense. However, it’s a new technology that the vast majority of MDs and other health professionals are still unaware of it – so they can’t recommend it. They are just unfamiliar with it.
What are the most commonly reported sleep issues that improve with neurofeedback training?
Insomnia - Difficulty falling asleep; difficulty maintaining sleep during the night
Difficulty waking from sleep
Difficulty getting to bed
Not feeling rested after sleep
Sleeping too long (over 10 hours)
Physically restless sleep
Bedwetting (Nocturnal enuresis)
Restless leg syndrome - Leg discomfort or sleep causing movement & arousal
Bruxism - teeth grinding during sleep
Sleep terrors - Abrupt arousal with intense fear, difficult to awaken, no dream recall or memory of event
Dysregulated sleep patterns/cycles (circadian rhythms)
Neurofeedback training often helps these problems as it improves brain regulation. These are common reports: A 75 year-old reported recently that she "slept like a baby for the first time in 25 years" after neurofeedback training. Parents of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) often say it's easier to get their kids to sleep. Depressed clients remark they have a much easier time getting going in the morning.
The role of the brain and sleep
The brain regulates sleep. The EEG (brainwaves) clearly reflects changes in sleep stages. Training brainwaves using neurofeedback to decrease or increase slow brainwave activity, or to increase specific EEG activation patterns appears to help the brain normalize sleep. Based on reports from a large number of licensed health professionals the evidence shows that training the EEG impacts sleep regulatory mechanisms and people sleep better.
Since sleep is complex and involves many systems, it is not possible to suggest that sleep problems always improve as a result of neurofeedback. But clinicians say that they routinely expect changes to occur in sleep patterns after appropriate training for a large percentage of their clients. As with any program, a complete sleep assessment is helpful. Sleep hygiene issues (including caffeine, alcohol and other behavioral factors) and other potential contributory factors such as possible sleep apnea also need to be carefully reviewed and corrected in combination with neurofeedback training.