Neurofeedback for Insomnia: Train Your Brain to Sleep

Neurofeedback for Insomnia: Train Your Brain to Sleep

Insomnia isn’t just a nuisance. It’s a sleep disorder that can wreak havoc on your physical and mental health. Your body needs ample sleep to repair itself.

Without the right amount of sleep, you’re more likely to struggle with mood disorders, irritability, decreased immune system, fatigue, and chronic health problems, such as kidney disease.

Jake Schmutz, NMD, and Joshua Hersh, NMD, understand the importance of good sleep quality, and that’s why we offer neurofeedback for insomnia here at Integrative Medica in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Neurofeedback can train your brain to sleep better and help you manage conditions 一 like anxiety and stress 一 that make it hard to get a good night’s sleep.

Here’s what you need to know.

What is neurofeedback?

Biofeedback encompasses techniques that help you regulate or control some of your body’s functions. Neurofeedback is a type of biofeedback 一 electroencephalography (EEG) biofeedback 一 that helps improve self-control of brain function. 

Neurofeedback is a reward-based training therapy for your brain to help you regulate certain brain functions using advanced computer software. Our doctors stimulate brain activity with video games, computers, sounds, movies, or other tools while sensors send data to a computer. 

You may, for example, watch a video, and if your brain produces favorable waves, the screen may get brighter or you may hear a musical tone. 

We evaluate your brain wave activity and work to retrain and reorganize neural activity. Over time, your brain learns how to make the screen brighter, and that’s the key to influencing your brain function.

Because abnormal brain wave patterns can make it hard to self-regulate, our goal is to identify abnormal patterns and retrain your brain to make them normal. By regulating your brain wave patterns, you regain control over your emotions, behaviors, and thoughts.

How does neurofeedback help with insomnia?

So, what impact does neurofeedback have on your sleep? Let’s first take a look at typical brain activity while you sleep.

Your brain activity and sleep

Neurofeedback can provide information about abnormal brain waves blocking your ability to get a good night’s sleep. Remember, throughout your session, you’re hooked up to an EEG machine that can provide information about activity in specific areas of your brain. 

For instance, if the EEG reveals excess activity in certain parts, it can hint at what’s affecting your sleep. Anxiety and obsessive thoughts are just two of the conditions that can make it hard to sleep.

By identifying where (and why) you have excess brain activity, our team can start to address your insomnia. According to a review of 10 studies involving neurofeedback and insomnia, participants reported an improvement in sleep.

Training your brain to sleep

Neurofeedback can retrain and reorganize your neural activity, including in the areas of your brain that regulates sleep. 

With neurofeedback, you train your brain to sleep better. As a reward-based therapy, you’re rewarding your brain for creating healthier sleep patterns — and stopping the negative thinking patterns that could sabotage your sleep. 

A few strategies that you may learn through neurofeedback:

Neurofeedback works best with weekly sessions (typically over 20 weeks), so your brain has time to develop new ways of thinking. You should notice improvement after your first session, with continued improvements in stress reduction and better sleep over the course of treatment.

You can further support good sleep by practicing good sleep hygiene and treating any underlying conditions that may affect your ability to get a good night’s rest.

Don’t let insomnia rule your life. Schedule a consultation today to find out if neurofeedback is right for you.

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