Neurofeedback for insomnia: Current state of research.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


World J Psychiatry, Volume 11, Issue 10, p.897-914 (2021)


<p><b>BACKGROUND: </b>Chronic insomnia affects about 6%-13% of the Canadian population. Although treatments already exist, they each have their own issues. Neurofeedback is a neuromodulation technique that specifically targets abnormal brain activity and is gaining attention as a possible insomnia treatment.</p><p><b>AIM: </b>To review the latest studies pertaining to the use of neurofeedback in the treatment of insomnia.</p><p><b>METHODS: </b>In this non-systematic review, only experimental studies assessing the effects of neurofeedback on patients with insomnia were targeted across four bibliographic databases.</p><p><b>RESULTS: </b>A total of 12 studies were retained. All neurofeedback studies included in this study showed a clear improvement of subjective sleep. However, data concerning objective improvement are contradictory. Most studies regarding surface and z-score neurofeedback show that neurofeedback targeting the sensorimotor rhythm in the sensorimotor cortex may help improve subjective sleep. A placebo effect seems also to be present in some studies. Several limitations were present in each study.</p><p><b>CONCLUSION: </b>While studies concerning neurofeedback as a treatment for insomnia are encouraging, many methodological barriers remain to be resolved to prove its efficacy unequivocally. More studies using robust design parameters, as well as the replication of existing studies, are necessary to support neurofeedback as an effective treatment for insomnia.</p>

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