Can't sleep? Train your brain with Neurofeedback

Posted at 4:30 PM, Feb 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-13 19:28:04-05

TULSA - Can't sleep?

According to statistics from The National Sleep Foundation more than 30 percent of the population suffers from insomnia. Insomnia can be debilitating and it can cause health problems.

There is somewhat of a cure, Neurofeedback, that's been around since the 1960s. 2 Works for You anchor Chera Kimiko was diagnosed with insomnia and underwent Neurofeedback.

Two leads were placed on her forehead and a special cap placed over her head. She sat and stared at nothing for six minutes while her brain activity was being studied.

When the test was done, the printout showed five different colors across Chera's head. The colors represent the different types of electrical patterns, or "brain waves." Each serves a purpose to help cope with various situations. Too much or too little in any one area can cause problems.

"I saw that immediately what we look for in sleep related issues is alpha brain waves in the back part of your head," said Dannelle Newnam, a Neurofeedback specialist. "Basically it makes everything you are doing harder."

A perfect brain would show all green. For Chera, her results were almost every color but green - a clear indication of insomnia.

From here, she underwent her Neurofeedback sessions.

Chera sat in front of a TV with electrodes on specific areas of her scalp and earlobes to measure brain waves. The sensors transmit brain activity to a computer which deciphers the strength and frequencies of the brain waves. It then converts the information into a game of sorts. While watching the TV, her brain unconsciously controls the dimness - when she's not focused, the TV goes dim. When focused, the brain is "rewarded" with a bright picture again.

"What we are trying to do, is give positive feedback for desired behavior, so when it's not desired behavior we're eliminating positive feedback," said Newnam.

The training session continues over and over again to reprogram and retrain the brain. According to Newnam, the brain loves constant positive stimulation, which is why Neurofeedback works so well.

"When we start to correct all these issue it improves your mood, it improves your ability to be stable it improves you to not be impulsive behaviors and sleep and motivation levels," said Newnam.

Most people need 20 to 40 sessions to really make permanent changes. Each session lasts between 20 minutes to an hour.

As for Chera, she to sleep about an hour to an hour and a half. She's now around three and a half hours.

if you want to know more about Neurofeedback, check out Oklahoma Neurofeedback Specialists' website.

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