Applications of neurofeedback

Treatment of insomnia with Neurofeedback

Treatment of insomnia with neurofeedback

Sleep disorders

In 2021, approximately 65.8% of the French population suffered from sleep disorders. In 30 years, our average sleep time has gone from 8 hours to just 6h30. A disaster for our health.

This lack of sleep increases :

Effective and lasting treatment of insomnia with neurofeedback

Neurofeedback is an innovative method to treat insomnia in an effective and long-lasting way, regardless of its duration or severity.

It has many advantages over other insomnia treatments such as medication: no side effects, no addiction or risk of addiction…

Since 2010, the AABP (Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback) has classified neurofeedback as a Level 3 solution for the treatment of insomnia: this means it has a very high probability of success, with a solid foundation of clinical and scientific studies.

Studies by Martijn Arns and Pérez-Elvira (2019) show that after a Loreta Z-score Neurofeedback treatment, more than 90% of the patients’ EEG data improved (the brain functions better and is more balanced) and insomnia symptoms were reduced by more than 82%.

In addition to Neurofeedback, we use a variety of tools, tailored to your needs to treat insomnia.

Discover our practice by consulting the dedicated pages in the “Tools and methods” tab in the menu.

Impact of insomnia on the brain

Thanks to the quantitative electroencephalogram (qEEG) used, the electrical state of the brain is accurately measured. A tired brain has a lot to tell us, we just have to listen to it.

Example of 2 Brainmaps obtained by qEEG of people with insomnia and fatigue

Here is what the brain of a person suffering from insomnia and fatigue can look like and the consequences:

Learn more about eeg, brain map and brain waves on the dedicated page  Quantitative EEG & BrainMap →

Results of neurofeedback treatment for insomnia

Here is a typical example of results obtained after insomnia treatment with Neurofeedback (and neuromodulation):

Before neurofeedback: difficulty falling asleep, fatigue, anxiety, nightmares, cognitive problems (concentration, memory)

After 10 neurofeedback sessions: fast sleep, recuperative sleep, energy, motivation, disappearance of nightmares and reduction of anxiety

Neurofeedback has many benefits for many applications. In cases of insomnia and fatigue, Neurofeedback is a beneficial treatment:

Note: Always remember to check that you or your child does not suffer from sleep apnea. It is a severe impediment to the quality of your nights, which can have a negative impact on your health.

Measuring the quality of my sleep

How do I know if I am sleeping well?

Many people think they are sleeping well, but they are wrong… Sleeping for a long time does not mean sleeping well. There are signs that tell us about the quality of our nights:

I wish to remedy my insomnia

Do you want to know if your sleep quality is good? If you have good recovery capacities?

Do you suffer from insomnia but medication has not helped? Are you constantly exhausted?

Take stock of the state of your nervous system and the quality of your sleep: qEEG Brainmap with HRV measurement.

What is HRV?

To find a solution to your insomnia, you must first measure it to identify the origin of your fatigue and insomnia. To do this, we use the EEG to measure the central nervous system (brain) and the HRV to measure the autonomic nervous system.

The HRV allows you to record an electrocardiogram over 24 hours: this way, you can measure your heart variability. That is to say how your heart reacts and adapts to the various activities of the day (sport, meals, work, relaxation…). The device is small and is installed on your chest for 24 hours, you just have to fill in an activity book.

This assessment has nothing to do with the polysomnography used in laboratories.

Autonomic nervous system

Balance of both systems for optimal operation

The parasympathetic system comes into play when we are active. It is especially activated in case of stress or threat. If we are built in an insecure or threatening environment, live under constant stress or experience psychological trauma, this system can remain chronically active and put our body in a state of hypervigilance. Its activation results in increased heart rate, blood flow and metabolism, release of stress-related hormones such as cortisol and increased brain activity.

In case of danger, these phenomena are useful for our survival. But when it is chronic, the long-term consequences are devastating. Constant sympathetic activity causes a rise in body temperature when it should be falling in order to fall asleep. High levels of cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine speed up the heart rate, making the transition to deep sleep difficult. And brain activity does not decrease in the part of the brain related to emotions (the amygdala) and memory (the hippocampus). This is how insomnia starts.

Other treatments for insomnia

Treatment of insomnia with medication

The medications most often used to treat insomnia are :

Alternative and natural solutions to insomnia

Natural supplements to help with sleep disorders:

Improve the environment

Insomnia always has an origin! Do not neglect the impact of your environment on the quality of your nights. Identifying the origin of your insomnia allows you to find the appropriate treatment.

Take care of your mental health

Stress, anxiety, ruminations, trauma, depression ... These are the first responsible followed by health professionals, holistic and natural care, relaxation, meditative activities ...

Eliminate screen exposure

The blue light deceives the brain into thinking that it is still daytime and delays the process of preparing for sleep.

Pay attention to the parameters of the room

Soft light, calm atmosphere, relaxing music and temperature around 18-19°C.

Cut out the use of stimulants after 2pm

Excess of sugar, coca, coffee... they are excitants (caffeine has an effect of action until more than 6 hours after the intake).

Working conditions

Working shifts, shifts or night shifts deteriorates the quality of sleep.

Taking care of your physical health

improve your diet (avoid fatty and heavy meals in the evening), stay sufficiently hydrated, engage in physical activities but not at the end of the day or too intensively.

Usefulness of sleep

Benefits and consequences




Physical and mental fatigue, cognitive difficulties

Cleaning of cells and toxins

Accumulation of toxins in the organs

Cellular regeneration

Accelerated aging of cells

Managing emotions through dreams

Accumulation of unpleasant emotions

Too little sleep has short and long term consequences:

Insomnia and weight gain

Our daytime metabolism is different from our nighttime metabolism. Normally, when we sleep we do not eat, our digestive organs must be at rest after 10 pm: this is how the internal biological clock works when we have a regular rhythm. If we eat after a certain time, we digest poorly and this negatively impacts the quality of our sleep.

Conversely, when we sleep badly with fatigue we will increase our food intake by favoring foods rich in fat, sugar and carbohydrates: the brain needs energy quickly and will demand it. This increases the tendency to snack regularly. Insomnia, fatigue and a deregulated diet/digestion drastically increase the risk of obesity.

Cognitive consequences

Sleep is extremely important for our cognitive functions. For example:

In adolescents (AS Urrila et al. Sci Rep, 2017)

In the elderly (Cordonne S., et al, 2019)

A deficiency in slow wave sleep alters cognitive abilities, which increases the presence of senile plaques (beta-amyloids). These plaques in turn deteriorate the quality of sleep. An accumulation of plaques contributes to the appearance of Alzheimer’s disease.

In the case of ADD/ADHD

In the case of ADD/ADHD, sleep disorders are similar to jet lag: their circadian phase is delayed (= falling asleep appears later in the night). This changes the sleep architecture and therefore the ability to recover is diminished. This process increases the sleep debt: the frontal lobes are under-activated. Cognitive functions are weakened because the brain is less efficient and attentional and memory capacities decrease: it becomes difficult to learn and school results decrease as the level of education increases.

Emotional consequences

Sleep and emotional or mood management are closely related.

In children as well as in adults, fatigue makes us agitated or even irritable (with behavioral problems) because we have fewer resources to self-regulate and manage ourselves. We lose our patience, we can’t stand change, we can get angry very easily…

In the case of depression and anxiety, it is common to have difficulty falling asleep or insomnia, drowsiness…

Check out our page on Anxiety →

Physiology and architecture of sleep

Nature is well done: our brain knows when to sleep thanks to a specific process. At night, the absence of daylight activates a gland in the center of the brain: the suprachiasmatic nuclei which are the central biological clock of our organism. The activation of the nuclei will activate the pineal gland which will produce melatonin “the sleep hormone”.

The different phases during the night

Sleep gives the brain the opportunity to clean up its neurons worn out by wakefulness: to update and repair the connections they make with each other and to eliminate neurotoxic waste from its metabolism; then to replenish its energy to face the next period of wakefulness.

During the course of a night, 3 to 5 cycles are repeated, each consisting of different phases during which the nature of sleep changes. From light sleep, we go to a deeper phase, then to the famous REM sleep during which the cerebral activity is more intense and generates dreams.

Here is a healthy sleep architecture with deep sleep at the beginning of the night. Image source:

Each sleep phase has specific brain waves, each playing a different role. Image source: 

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