Insomnia- An Epidemic in the Modern World
In the modern world, there are all manner of influences that might be disruptive to a normal sleep cycle. We over consume stimulants like caffeine and sugar. Our biological system is constantly under assault from electromagnetic frequencies from wifi networks and cell phone radiation. We are exposed to pollution to varying degrees. The stress level in general is high.
As a result, many of us fail to get adequate sleep at night. Insomnia has currently reached epidemic status in the developed world. Recent estimates of the prevalence of insomnia according to data analysis studies show us that almost 1/3 of the US population suffers from some form of sleep disturbance.
Modern medicine falls short of adequately helping insomniacs. All it can offer is sedatives or hypnotics, two classes of drugs that can create as many problems as they seek to alleviate. This is where alternative medicine can step in to take up the slack.
Sleep hygiene best practices are important for insomnia patients to learn about and utilize. Recommendations about diet and exercise level can be very helpful. Managing stress levels with meditation, yoga and other transpersonal methods is a trend on the rise, and can contribute to relief from insomnia. Herbs like Valerian and Skullcap have been shown to be very helpful, and supplements such as amino acids and vitamins have their place in a holistic treatment strategy as well.
The addition of neurofeedback to the therapeutic mix can be a game changer in the battle against sleep disturbance. At Synergy Neurofeedback we treat insomnia and a wide range of other neurological concerns, and even offer at-home brain training in most cases.
How Does Neurofeedback work for Insomnia?
Sleep is a brain regulated function, and neurofeedback trains specific parts of the brain to work at an optimum frequency, in this case those associated with sleep regulation. It makes sense that neurofeedback would be a valuable therapy in the treatment of sleep disorders. Like the engine in your car, the brain needs a tune-up at times, to counteract the degenerative effects of wear and tear.
Although there is currently a lack of well funded and thus large scientific studies, we have a great deal of anecdotal evidence and direct reports from our patients that tell us neurofeedback is an effective treatment for insomnia. Some studies have shown neurofeedback to be effective for sleep issues, though much more research is needed to prove what we already know as practitioners.
One recent study suggested that placebo-feedback was just as effective as real neurofeedback for subjective measures of sleep complaints. However, in these studies an unconventional neurofeedback protocol was used, well-investigated neurofeedback protocols such as SMR or SCP protocols. Other approaches were used in these studies that deviate from principles of learning theory, meaning it’s most likely that neither the experimental group nor the control group received proper neurofeedback.
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