Do you struggle to fall asleep despite being tired? Do you wake up multiple times in the night or lie awake for hours, anxiously watching the clock? Do you wake up in the morning unrefreshed or fatigued?
Insomnia, experienced by about 10% of Canadian adults, has effects both on your physical and mental well-being. It has been linked to high blood pressures, insulin resistance, mood swings , and loss of concentration.
BRAIN PATTERNS & INSOMNIA
There are two major types of insomnia:
Sleep Onset- Insomnia is a type of sleep disorder where people have a hard time falling asleep. The cause is hyperarousal, manifesting as heightened awareness and increased energy levels. This could be a result of lifestyle changes, short term stressors, lifestyle (lack of exercise, bad sleep hygiene that include screen time, caffeine or sugar intake) or a manifestation of anxiety and depression.
Maintenance Insomnia involves people waking up early and having trouble going back to sleep. Persistent trouble staying asleep can have an impact on daily functions due to day-time fatigue. This can also be a symptom of depression.
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM NEUROFEEDBACK
Neurofeedback as a concept of instrumental conditioning can be a powerful tool in retraining the brain to improve sleep. Neurofeedback identifies the brainwave patterns that are responsible for the sleep symptoms. Most commonly, this can include boosting or decreasing arousal, augmenting sleep spindle activity (an important type of brain wave for sleep maintenance) and balancing alpha activity.
INSOMNIA AND RESEARCH
Neurofeedback for Insomnia: A Pilot Study of Z-score SMR and Individualized Protocols
Hammer BU, Colbert AP, Brown KA, Ilioi EC. Neurofeedback for insomnia: a pilot study of Z-score SMR and individualized protocols. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2011;36(4):251-264. doi:10.1007/s10484-011-9165-y
Neurofeedback in ADHD and Insomnia: Vigilance Stabilization Through Sleep Spindles and Circadian Networks.
Arns M, Kenemans JL. Neurofeedback in ADHD and insomnia: vigilance stabilization through sleep spindles and circadian networks. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2014;44:183-194. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2012.10.006
An Exploratory Study on the Effects of Tele-neurofeedback and Tele-biofeedback on Objective and Subjective Sleep in Patients with Primary Insomnia
Cortoos, A., De Valck, E., Arns, M. et al. An Exploratory Study on the Effects of Tele-neurofeedback and Tele-biofeedback on Objective and Subjective Sleep in Patients with Primary Insomnia. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback 35, 125–134 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10484-009-9116-z
Neurofeedback: A Comprehensive Review on System Design, Methodology and Clinical Applications
Marzbani H, Marateb HR, Mansourian M. Neurofeedback: A Comprehensive Review on System Design, Methodology and Clinical Applications. Basic Clin Neurosci. 2016;7(2):143-158. doi:10.15412/J.BCN.03070208