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Cooling the brain may help induce sleep

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Unread 07.29.11, 05:50 AM
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Cooling the brain may help induce sleep

07.28.11 09:01 PM

According to the American Psychological Association, more than 60 percent of adults have trouble sleeping at night. Recently, researchers discovered that people with sleep disorders could find relief by wearing a specially designed cap that cools the brain.

Insomnia increases the metabolism of the brain’s frontal cortex. A reduction in metabolism in this part of the brain is needed in order to get a restful night’s sleep. Scientists have found that one way to achieve this is through a process called “cerebral hypothermia.”

Participants with sleep disturbances wore a cap that cooled their heads, and over the course of the study were able to sleep for the same amount of time as the healthy control group, about 89 percent of the night.

“The most significant finding from this study is that we can have a beneficial impact on the sleep of insomnia patients via a safe, non-pharmaceutical mechanism that can be made widely available for home use by insomnia sufferers,” said principal investigator and lead author Eric Nofzinger, M.D.

This treatment is designed to treat primary insomnia, which occurs when a person is unable to fall asleep and has no coexisting condition that could be the cause of this problem.

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