WAKE FOREST, NC (Ivanhoe Newswire) - How did you sleep last night? If you have trouble getting enough zzz's, you're not alone. Sixty million Americans have insomnia and sometimes even sleeping pills don't help. Now, a new experimental treatment could point the way to a good night's sleep.
Forty-five-year old Howard Shelley couldn't sleep more than three hours a night.
"I wouldn't sleep that soundly, I would wake up," Howard Shelley told Ivanhoe.
Up to 50 percent of Americans like Shelley report insomnia on a weekly basis. Now a new therapy could help.
Shelley participated in the first clinical research study using brainwave optimization, which is essentially using your own brain waves to balance brain function to improve sleep.
"It's kind of like pushing the reset button in that you get back to a balanced level to start with," Charles Tegeler, M.D., Neurologist for Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, told Ivanhoe.
Doctor Charles Tegeler said insomnia can be caused by stress or trauma that throws off the brain's natural rhythms and balance. Here's how it works. Sensors attach to the scalp and connect to a brain-mapping computer that detects brain waves. The brain waves are then broken down into frequencies and evaluated.
"The brighter colors, the yellow, are higher frequency bands," Dr. Tegeler explained.
Dominant frequencies are then assigned a musical tone and played back to the patient through ear phones.
"It's kind of consonant, kind of dissonant…strangely ethereal," Shelley explained.
As the brain listens to the sounds, changes can occur in the neural network.
"It works. After the third session, I got a great night's sleep. After that, little by little, the insomnia kind of went away. I'm sleeping great now," Shelley concluded. All thanks to the sounds of his own brain.
Brain wave optimization is available as a biofeedback technique, but formal research studies are just emerging. The treatment has been shown to be safe and painless in early research trials for insomnia. A clinical trial for brainwave optimization in migraine is underway, with plans to do additional studies with insomnia, along with mild cognitive impairment and traumatic brain injury or concussion planned for this year.
BACKGROUND: Insomnia is a sleeping disorder that affects millions of individual's world wide. Research has linked insomnia to high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, diabetes, and other medical issues. Not only does insomnia cause sleepiness during the day, it has been linked to deeper problems such as high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, diabetes, and other ailments. Insomnia can fluctuate throughout one's life and can be somewhat difficult to diagnose due to the variations of the disorder. American Academy of Sleep Medicine has developed 11 variations of insomnia. (Source: www.webmd.com, www.health.com)
DO YOU HAVE INSOMNIA? Insomnia is characterized by difficulty falling and/or staying asleep. Insomnia can be caused from many different factors including anxiety, medications, stress, caffeine, overeating before bedtime, or a change in one's life. Many people are unaware that they are suffering from insomnia, but these are few common symptoms webmd.com suggests to look out for:
Difficulty falling asleep
Waking up often during the night and having trouble going back to sleep
Waking up too early in the morning
Feeling tired upon waking
TYPES OF INSOMNIA: There are two classifications of insomnia: primary insomnia and secondary insomnia.
Primary insomnia occurs when a person is having sleep problems that are not directly related to any other health condition or problem.
Secondary insomnia occurs when a person is having sleep problems because of something else, such as a health condition such as asthma, depression, arthritis, cancer, or heartburn. (Source: www.webmd.com)
INSOMNIA TREATMENT: Brainwave optimization is a non-invasive treatment that helps the brain balance itself for optimal performance. The therapy is still considered experimental for the treatment of insomnia but there are treatment facilities offering the therapy for other disorders. Reports show that many patients meet the treatment expectations or exceed them. Studies have not only shown brainwave optimization therapy for the treatment of insomnia but also for the treatment of anxiety, PSTD, and depression. (Source: brainstatetech.com, www.brainpeace.ca, www.insomnialand.com)
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Bonnie Davis National Media Relations Manager Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center (336) 716-4977
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