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Cooling the brain during sleep may be a natural and effective treatment for insomnia
Date:6/13/2011

Participants with insomnia had an average age of about 45 years, and nine of the 12 subjects were women.

Participants received all-night frontal cerebral thermal transfer by wearing a soft plastic cap on their head. The cap contained tubes that were filled with circulating water. The effectiveness of varying thermal transfer intensities was investigated by implementing multiple conditions: no cooling cap, and cooling cap with either neutral, moderate or maximal cooling intensity.

According to Nofzinger, the simplicity and effectiveness of this natural treatment could be a long-awaited breakthrough for insomnia sufferers.

"The primary medical treatment for insomnia has long been the prescription of hypnotics, or sleeping pills, yet only about 25 percent of patients using these treatments are satisfied, citing concerns regarding side effects and the possibility of dependence on a pill to help them sleep at night," he said. "There exists a large gap between what patients with insomnia are looking for to help them and what is currently available. Patients have long sought a more natural, non-pharmaceutical means to help them with their sleep at night. The identification of a dose-dependent improvement by the device used in this study opens the door to a novel, safe and more natural way to achieve restorative sleep in insomnia care."

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports that chronic insomnia, or symptoms that last for at least a month, affects about 10 percent of adults. Most often insomnia is a "comorbid" disorder, occurring with another medical illness, mental disorder or sleep disorder, or associated with certain medications or substances. Fewer people suffering from insomnia are considered to have primary insomnia, which is defined as a difficulty falling asleep or maintaining sleep in the absence of coexisting conditions.

In a study published in 2006 in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, Nofzinger a
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Contact: Emilee McStay
emcstay@aasmnet.org
630-737-9700
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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