Around 40 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disruption. Difficulty falling asleep, difficulty remaining asleep, difficulty in waking in the morning, and feeling fatigued due to restless sleep can significantly impair function and quality of life.
Diagnosis of a sleep disorder is usually quite straightforward – the individual reports difficulty in sleeping and suffers from fatigue and excessive sleepiness during the day as a result. However, having a sleep study done to formally diagnose the condition may be helpful. A sleep study is a diagnostic test conducted at a special sleep center. The patient is attached to various monitors and is also videotaped while sleeping. Having a sleep study done is a good idea before proceeding with any training because it can reveal conditions such as sleep apnea that have very specific and effective training.
Sleep is regulated by the brain, in particular by parts of the brainstem. Studies of the electrical activity of the brain (EEG studies) have identified specific patterns of brainwaves associated with wakefulness, sleepiness, deep sleep and dreaming sleep. Neurofeedback aims to teach the patient to be able to regulate brainwave activity. The goal of neurofeedback for sleep disruption is that the patient will be able to voluntarily induce sleep-type brainwaves when sleep is desired.
Candidates for neurofeedback training suffer from chronic or frequent sleep disruptions. They have eliminated obvious culprits such as caffeine and alcohol, and have followed advice about improving sleep habits, with no resulting improvement in the sleep disruption problem.
Neurofeedback uses monitoring devices to provide real-time feedback to the individual about brainwave patterns. During training, electrodes are attached to the patient’s head. Our staff works with the patient to assist them in learning how to regulate and change the brainwave patterns.
Most patients report they are unclear as to what mechanism or process they are actually using to alter brainwaves, but once trained they can repeat the process outside of the training laboratory. Various different training methods can be used, including sensorimotor protocols, quantitative EEG protocols, alpha-stim methods, theta training and a training protocol referred to as brain music.
Not everyone experiences improvement in sleep after neurofeedback training. However, it is reported that a large percentage of patients do experience dramatic improvements in sleep after neurofeedback training. Due to the complexities of sleep and sleep disorders, it is currently difficult to predict who might benefit from neurofeedback training. There are, however, no known adverse or negative side effects from neurofeedback training, and most subjects report that the training sessions are interesting and enjoyable.
At Advanced Health and Performance Institute, we specialize in neurofeedback, and we’ll work with you to determine the most effective training plan for your needs. We offer our NeuroZone™ training programs to help kids, athletes and executives function at optimal levels – and we can help you! Contact Advanced Health and Performance Institute today to schedule your consultation.