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Insomnia & Sleep Disorders - Quick Facts

  • Central in insomnia is a disrupted or disrespected Circadian Rhythm.
  • Worry about insomnia, maintains insomnia.
  • Insomnia contributes to most major & minor psychological complaints such as ADHD, Anxiety, Depression and other mood deregulation, unwanted weight gain, memory & focus issues, behavioural issues in children, and problems in interpersonal relationships.

This is a long list. But it makes perfect sense. If you are not sleeping well, or long enough, all of you (brain & body) has the potential to become deregulated. Sleep is critical for brain rest, brain & body rejuvenation, processing of emotional experience, learning,… arguably everything!

Our research has found that there is one major region of the brain, and three brainwaves, involved with ‘pure brain’ insomnia. Hormones can also play a major part with females* (*biological at birth). The rest is all our fault 😉.

Long hours, high stress, eating habits, poor sleep hygiene, and of course screen time &  exposure to blue light & i-tech (interactive technology) arousal algorithms too close to bedtime are major culprits.

At Swingle Clinic we will help you weed out the behavior from the brain and help you construct a path to a good night’s sleep.


Sleep Problems and Insomnia

For sleep problems and insomnia, please book a 5 point ClinicalQ intake with Dr Mari Swingle.

About the Condition(s)

Sleep problems are extremely common, and sleep deprivation is a common part of modern life. Sometimes, sleep difficulties are simply the result of lifestyle patterns such as stress, working long hours, and irregular bedtimes, but while preventable, can become annoying, long-term difficulties with fatigue and sleeplessness that go on for years. In other people, there may be other causes, including underlying mental or physical medical conditions.

Insomnia disorder is included in the DSM-5-TR, and can involve difficulty falling asleep, remaining asleep, and difficulty falling back to sleep once awake. It causes distress and occurs at least three nights per week. Sleep apnea, repeatedly stopping and starting breathing during sleep, is also common, affecting between 10 and 30% of adults. Red flags are waking repeatedly (often gasping for breath) and snoring.

Recommended Neurofeedback Treatment

Neurofeedback is highly effective in the treatment of sleep problems, and typically involves training up the slower theta waves (3-7hz) while training down the faster beta waves (18-25hz), at the rear of the brain. In addition, abnormalities in the delta waves (1-3hz) can indicate sleep problems or sleep deprivation. SMR (sensory motor rhythm) is also classically involved. Typically, training these brainwaves is straightforward, relaxing, and pleasant.

Additional Recommended Psychological Services

Occasionally, if sleep problems do not resolve after Neurofeedback treatment, there may be underlying psychological issues, such as unresolved trauma or anxiety. Often lifestyle factors such as excessive workload, worry, and relationship difficulties can get in the way of being able to feel calm enough to fall asleep. Good sleep hygiene, including regular exercise, exposure to sunlight, and avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and other stimulating substances close to bedtime can also be helpful.

Recommended Reading

Biofeedback for the Brain

Further reading...

Arns, M., Swatzyna, R.J., Gunkelman, J., & Olbrich, S. (2015). Sleep maintenance, spindling excessive beta and regulatory systems approach? Neuropsychiatric Electrophysiology electronically published June 2015.

Bell, J. S. (1979). The use of EEG theta biofeedback in the treatment of a patient with sleep-onset insomnia. Biofeedback & Self Regulation, 4(3), 229–236.

Berner, I., Schabus, M., Wienerroither, T., & Klimesch, W. (2006). The significance of sigma neurofeedback training on sleep spindles and aspects of declarative memory. Applied Psychophysiology & Biofeedback, 31(2), 97–114.

Buckelew, S., Degood, D., Taylor. J., (2013). Neuroflexibilty and sleep onset insomnia among college students: Implication for neurotherapy. Journal of Neurotherapy.

Feinstein, B., Sterman, M. B., & MacDonald, L. R. (1974). Effects of sensorimotor rhythm training on sleep. Sleep Research, 3, 134.

Hammer, B. U., Colbert, A.P., Brown, K.A. and Ilioi, E. C. (2011). Neurofeedback for Insomnia: A Pilot Study of Z-Score SMR and Individualized Protocols. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, DOI 10.1007/s10484-011-9165-y

Hammond, D. C. (2012). Neurofeedback treatment of restless legs syndrome and periodic leg movements in sleep. Journal of Neurotherapy.

Hoedlmoser, K., Pecherstorfer, T., Gruber, E., Anderer, P., Doppelmayr, M., Klimesch, W., & Schabus, M. (2008). Instrumental conditioning of human sensorimotor rhythm (12–15 Hz) and its impact on sleep as well as declarative learning. Sleep, 31(10), 1401–1408.

Leminen, M., Ahonen, L., Gröhn, M., Huotilainen, M., Paunio, T., & Virkkala, J. (2014). Comparing Auditory Stimuli for Sleep Enhancement: Mimicking a Sleeping Situation. Retrieved from

Papalambros, N. A., Santostasi, G., Malkani, R. G., Braun, R., Weintraub, S., Paller, K. A., & Zee, P. C. (2017). Acoustic Enhancement of Sleep Slow Oscillations and Concomitant Memory Improvement in Older Adults. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 11.

Sterman, M. B., Howe, R. D., & Macdonald, L. R. (1970). Facilitation of spindle-burst sleep by conditioning of electroencephalographic activity while awake. Science, 167, 1146–1148.