A Mind-body Treatment for Insomnia Investigation of Neurofeedback Treatment of Insomnia

Disease(s): Mind-Body Medicine

Between 40 and 70 million Americans suffer sleep problems. Sleep medications are sometimes useful for insomnia but they often have undesirable side effects. This study is to see whether a type of treatment called neurofeedback that does not involve the use of medications, can improve sleep in people with insomnia.

Participants in the study will be 10 volunteers with insomnia who are aged 18-60 years. This study will take place at the Helfgott Research Institute at the National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM). The study will last 9 weeks. Participants will receive a maximum of 15 neurofeedback treatments.

This study is a feasibility study that will test the possible benefits of two types of neurofeedback. We will judge the success of these therapies using several outcome measures that evaluate the subjective symptoms of insomnia and objective sleep patterns. Our primary outcome is sleep efficiency which is a measure of how much actual sleep occurred compared to time spent in bed. Sleep efficiency will be determined by a before and after 72-hour Actigraph.

It is important that we conduct this pilot study to evaluate our treatment protocols and get an indication of whether neurofeedback might be helpful for insomnia. If we find an indication of possible sleep improvement for people with insomnia, we will apply for funding form the NationalCenter for Complementary and Alternative Medicine to study neurofeedback for insomnia in a larger clinical trial.


Dr. Agatha P. Colbert and Dr. Barbara U. Hammer are Co-Principal Investigators for the Neurofeedback-Insomnia study. Dr. Hammer is also the Clinical Investigator.