Moderating Laboratory Adaptation with the Use of a Heart-rate Variability Biofeedback Device (StressEraser®)

  • Matthew R. EbbenEmail author
  • Vadim Kurbatov
  • Charles P. Pollak


Difficulty sleeping is a common problem with laboratory polysomnograms. This affects both polysomnograms that are used as a clinical tool to investigate sleep pathology or as an outcome variable in research. The goal of this study was to use a handheld biofeedback device (StressEraser®) to improve sleep quality in the laboratory. Ten subjects without a history of sleep disorders were randomly assigned to either a StressEraser® or no-treatment control condition. A sleep disturbance scale derived from sleep efficiency, REM latency, minutes of stage 1 sleep, and wake after sleep onset was created to evaluate the differences between these groups. Subjects in the StressEraser® group had significantly lower scores on the sleep disturbance scale compared to the no-treatment control group (p = 0.003). Sleep latency was not improved. In conclusion, the StressEraser® significantly improved sleep quality compared to a no-treatment control group. This suggests that the StressEraser® may be an effective tool to help reduce the first-night effect in nighttime laboratory sleep studies.


Transient insomnia StressEraser® Biofeedback Heart-rate variability First-night effect 


Disclosure Statement

This study was supported by a grant from Helicor Inc., maker of the StressEraser®.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew R. Ebben
    • 1
    Email author
  • Vadim Kurbatov
    • 1
  • Charles P. Pollak
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Sleep MedicineWeill Medical College of Cornell UniversityNew YorkUSA

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