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Cooling Cap Could Provide Insomnia Relief

Filed in
  • Treatments
  • Insomnia

American Academy of Sleep Medicine  |  Jun 29, 2011
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There is no easy cure for insomnia. Sleeping pills appear to be a quick fix, but the potential for psychological attachment and rebound insomnia make medication for insomnia a solution for short-term problems only. Alternatively, you can seek cognitive behavioral therapy to help eliminate the harmful thoughts and bad habits that promote extended periods of insomnia. This solution is very effective but also time-consuming and requires effort and dedication.

New research presented at SLEEP 2011, the 25th Anniversary Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC (APSS), suggests another treatment choice for insomnia may be on the horizon. The potential treatment would use a cooling cap that would lower your brain temperature to help you fall asleep.

Normally, a reduction in brain metabolism occurs as you fall asleep. However, during insomnia, the brain metabolism increases, keeping you awake. The cap helps reduce metabolic activity by cooling the front half of the brain.

The study involved 24 people. Half of the participants had insomnia. Each was subjected to several overnight sleep studies while wearing the cooling cap. The settings for the cooling cap differed each night, ranging from maximum amounts of water cooling to not wearing the cap at all.

Results show patients who wore the cooling cap set to its maximum level slept nearly as well as the subjects who didn’t have insomnia. These findings suggest the device could be a new promising therapy for insomnia sometime in the future. The treatment is still a long ways off; more studies will need to be conducted before the device can hit the marketplace.