SMR neurofeedback shows potential as a therapeutic tool for reducing sleep problems. It is hypothesized that SMR neurofeedback trains the reticulo-thalamocortical-cortical circuit involved in sleep-spindle generation. As such, strengthening this circuit is hypothesized to reduce sleep problems. The current study aims to investigate the effectiveness of a home-based device that uses SMR neurofeedback to help reduce sleep problems. Thirty-seven participants reporting sleep problems received the SMR neurofeedback-based program for 40 (n = 21) or 60 (n = 16) sessions. The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and Holland Sleep Disorders Questionnaire (HSDQ) were assessed at baseline, session 20, outtake, and follow-up (FU). Actigraphy measurements were taken at baseline, session 20, and outtake. Significant improvements were observed in PSQI Total (d = 0.78), PSQI Sleep Duration (d = 0.52), HSDQ Total (d = 0.80), and HSDQ Insomnia (d = 0.79). Sleep duration (based on PSQI) increased from 5.3 h at baseline to 5.8 after treatment and 6.0 h. at FU. No effects of number of sessions were found. Participants qualified as successful SMR-learners demonstrated a significantly larger gain in sleep duration (d = 0.86 pre-post; average gain = 1.0 h.) compared to non-learners. The home-based SMR tele-neurofeedback device shows the potential to effectively reduce sleep problems, with SMR-learners demonstrating significantly better improvement. Although randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are needed to further elucidate the specific effect of this device on sleep problems, this is the first home-based SMR neurofeedback device using dry electrodes demonstrating effectiveness and feasibility.
- Feasibility trial
- SMR neurofeedback (URGOnight)
- Sleep problems