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With upwards of 100 million Americans struggling with with sleep disorders, it stands to reason that science will need to come up with new sleep treatments that challenge the 4.5 billion dollar sleeping pill industry.
In 2012, the sleep medicine field was rocked to its foundations by a Scripps Hospital study, authored by Dr. Daniel Kripke and others, showing irrefutable data that people taking as little as 18 prescription sleeping pills per year, had a nearly five-fold increase in premature death. All major media outlets covered the story and within 12 months, the FDA published a press release recommending that all doctors reduce their prescribed doses of the sleep medication Ambien by half. The decision was due to patient complaints of impaired driving the following morning. People reported a strong "hangover" effect that made them as equally impaired behind the wheel as a drunk driver.
Thirty million prescriptions per month are filled for sleep medications. Whats interesting about this is that the pharmaceutical companies profiting from these medications have spent little R & D money developing new, safer alternatives to their existing products. But to the credit of Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc, the makers of Lunesta, they have published a video illustrating the use of brainwave biofeedback, also known as neurofeedback, as an alternative to sleep medications. (Click here for video)A number of scientific studies have been published on using neurofeedback as a sleep treatment. This unique non-drug approach has shown to be effective in treating both mild and chronic insomnia by stabilizing and re-balancing misaligned brainwave patterns. Sensors are placed on the scalp, much like little microphones that pick up the electrical activity produced within the cortex. There is no electrical shock to the brain. The sensors then read the patients brainwaves, transferring this data to software that assesses precisely where the imbalances are, and then feeds back new data on how the brain can recondition itself for better sleep. In several of the published studies, all but one test subject showed improvement on both sleep latency, (how long it takes to fall asleep) as well as increases in total sleep time.