Non-invasive neurotechnology can help treat the symptoms of insomnia — WFBH

By Team

People with chronic insomnia constantly suffer from lack of sleep. Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Health believe that the symptoms of insomnia can be alleviated by “listening” to our own brainwaves. The approach implies using closed-loop acoustic stimulation neurotechnology.

The study involved high-resolution, relational, resonance-based electroencephalic mirroring (HIRREM), which was based on receiving information from the sensors attached to the scalp, recording brainwaves and applying software algorithms to convert produced frequencies into tones in real time. The transformed tones were immediately transmitted back to the subjects through headphones. As a result of the technique the brain was perceiving his own mirrored audible tones. A total of 107 adult men and women with moderate to severe insomnia symptoms took part in the experiment. Some of the participants listened to their own "brain music" while the others were broadcasted random sounds.

The researchers called HIRREM “a unique non-drug, non-invasive acoustic neuromodulation intervention that helps the brain to self-regulate, calm down and function normally”. It also assists in relieving hyperexcitation, coping with insomnia, and improving the performance of the autonomic nervous system. In fact, with HIRREM the psyche adjusts itself and gets rid of chronic trauma and stress.

Part of the subjects undertook HIRREM, while others were given a placebo. Participants kept an every-day sleep diary and underwent 10 intervention sessions lasting 90-120 minutes over the period of three weeks. At the end of the treatment, 78% subjects that went through HIRREM reported a reduction of insomnia symptoms.

In the test group significant and sustained improvements of body autonomic function were also observed. Such parameters as heart rate variability (HRV) and baroreflex sensitivity (BRS) significantly and favourably differed compared to those in a control group. HIRREM participants were five times more likely to undergo the improvement of HRV and twice more likely to improve BRS compared to the placebo group.

Charles H. Tegeler, M.D., Chair of Neurology, Wake Forest School of Medicine concludes:

"These findings add to the rapidly growing interest in neuromodulation and demonstrate that a brief intervention with closed-loop acoustic stimulation can improve sleep in a meaningful way, while also improving autonomic function. It's an important alternative approach for people who suffer from insomnia."

Non-invasive treatments for insomnia symptoms are slowly gaining popularity. One of the non-invasive solutions is implemented in the Hypnopedia application, which contains a set of relaxing sounds for falling asleep. Listening to them right before going to bed helps to normalize the activity of the brain and calm it down. Additionally, the app has a variety of special sets of affirmations that are played at night without waking the user up and help to gradually strengthen his mental health. These two tools together act as a complex, relaxing and "pumping" the abilities of the brain while you sleep without any effort from your side. Similarly, they help to reduce the symptoms of insomnia and side sleep disorders, as well as stress.

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Mental health Sleep Dreams