Friday, June 24, 2011

Insomnia and Brain Cooling

A research study was presented at the annual Sleep meeting in Minneapolis about treating insomnia by cooling the brain - called frontal cerebral thermal transfer. The study included 24 patients, half with insomnia and half without. The study subjects wore soft, plastic caps with circulating water that could be cooled to different temperatures. The results showed that in those with insomnia that were treated with the maximal cooling temperature fell asleep in 13 minutes and slept 89% of the time they were in bed. This is compared to the subjects without insomnia who fell asleep in 16 minutes and slept for 89% of the time they were in bed.

The researchers do not know why the cooling helps but they do have a theory. People with insomnia have increased metabolism in the front part of their brain. And cooling that part of the brain may reduce metabolism enough to improve sleep quality. This cooling cap could be an alternative to sleeping pills.

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