New treatment helping people with insomnia

How did you sleep last night? If you have trouble getting enough Z's, you're not alone.

60 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.

45-year-old Howard Shelley couldn't sleep more than three hours a night.

Howard Shelley, Suffered from insomnia, describes the sleeping problems he had, "I wouldn't sleep that soundly, I would wake up."

Up to 50-percent of Americans like Howard report insomnia on a weekly basis. Now a new therapy could help.

Howard participated in the first clinical research study using brainwave optimization- essentially using your own brain waves to balance brain function, to improve sleep.

Charles Tegeler, MD, Neurologist, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, describes what the process is like, "It's kind of like pushing the reset button in that you get back to a balanced level to start with."

Doctor Charles Tegeler says insomnia can be caused by stress or trauma that throws off the brain's natural rhythms and balance.

Here's how it works is, 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. Dominant frequencies are then assigned a musical tone and played back to the patient through ear phones.

Shelley describes what he sees the process, "It's kind of consonant, kind of dissonant, strangely ethereal."

As the brain listens to the sounds, changes can occur in the neural network.

Shelley explains how it helped him, "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."

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 migraines is also underway, with additional studies planned for people with concussions.

BRAIN WAVES BEAT INSOMNIA!
REPORT# 1871

BACKGROUND: Insomnia is a sleeping disorder that affects millions of individuals worldwide. 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. The 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 by 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 there are a few common symptoms:
* 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
(Source: mayoclinic.com)

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 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. (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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