To sleep—perchance to dream. Ay, there’s the rub!
How many of us get the chance to dream at night? Dream? Many of us don’t even sleep well enough, move through the stages of sleep normally, to even consider dreaming. If we could just regulate our sleep cycle, get a semblance of a normal amount of sleep, many of us would be world conquerors! Well, here’s a little-known fact, Infraslow Neurofeedback (ISF) helps to improve sleep. During our most recent ISF workshop, I asked attendees if they were aware of the controlled research that demonstrates ISF training improves sleep, only one attendee raised their hand. One! If the neurofeedback therapists attending a workshop on Infraslow Frequency Neurofeedback aren’t aware of this, how can our clients be?
So let me say it clearly, unencumbered, and without qualification: Infraslow Bipolar training has demonstrated significant improvements in sleep in a recent study. This outcome is no surprise to experienced ISF trainers. We have collected clinical data on sleep for many years. Improvements in sleep are the best example we have to demonstrate the powerful effect of ISF training to clients. Clinical data, you say, hmmm….isn’t there something that doesn’t quite smell right about “clinical data.”
Then let’s talk about controlled research done by Melissa Bekker and colleagues at Pretoria University and published in the Journal of Neurotherapy. The research revealed that ISF training significantly improved the time it took to fall asleep, the duration of sleep, and sleep efficiency. Do you think that means we might be more likely to dream? Well maybe, but more importantly, the study did show a reduction in the amount of medication needed to sleep, fewer sleep disturbances, and reduced day dysfunction due to sleepiness. There were significant improvements in overall sleep quality leading to significant improvements in energy and fatigue.
Here is why good quality sleep is so important, why poor sleep is so devasting. We know sleep deprivation can have downstream effects on our job performance, our relationships, and our very sense of ourselves. It negatively impacts our social lives as a lack of sleep can leave us irritable, inattentive, and emotionally brittle. According to Bekker’s research ISF can have a positive impact on the devastating impact of poor sleep through statistically significant improvements in emotional role functioning. We are better Mothers, Fathers, workers, and friends when we sleep well. Significant improvements in depression, anxiety, stress, and a sense of well-being were associated with improved sleep in Bekker’s study. These outcomes suggest that the emotional equilibrium associated with ISF neurofeedback has a powerful effect on sleep and our lives generally. Now that is a dream come true.(Bekker, Balt et al. 2021)
Bekker, M., et al. (2021). “The effect of infra-slow fluctuation neurofeedback training on a cohort of insomnia participants.” NeuroRegulation 8: 137-148.