It is known that many of medications used to treat insommnia are addictive, can make you drowsy the next day, or are simply ineffective.
A new study by Dr. Nofzinger from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine brings a fresh and interesting approach to this problem. Dr. Nofzinger has built a device designed to cool a specific area of the brain while a person sleeps. The device consisted of a cap with circulating water that cools the prefrontal cortex, the area just behind the forehead.
The idea behind this approach is that insommnia is caused by hyper-arousal of the prefronal cortex, as has been shown in previous studies. This hyper-arousal is experienced by the insomniac as excessive rumination, worries and incessant thoughts. Cooling this area slows the metabolism and reduces brain activity.
According to the study, 75% of the subjects reported better sleep – a higher percentage than any medication could accomplish.
I wonder if one could use simply one of those ice packs or eye masks you can buy in any drugstore…
Adapted from Scientific American Mind, November 2011 p. 11.