Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 125–134 | Cite as

An Exploratory Study on the Effects of Tele-neurofeedback and Tele-biofeedback on Objective and Subjective Sleep in Patients with Primary Insomnia

  • Aisha Cortoos
  • Elke De Valck
  • Martijn Arns
  • Marinus H. M. Breteler
  • Raymond Cluydts


Insomnia is a sleeping disorder, usually studied from a behavioural perspective, with a focus on somatic and cognitive arousal. Recent studies have suggested that an impairment of information processes due to the presence of cortical hyperarousal might interfere with normal sleep onset and/or consolidation. As such, a treatment modality focussing on CNS arousal, and thus influencing information processing, might be of interest. Seventien insomnia patients were randomly assigned to either a tele-neurofeedback (n = 9) or an electromyography tele-biofeedback (n = 8) protocol. Twelve healthy controls were used to compare baseline sleep measures. A polysomnography was performed pre and post treatment. Total Sleep Time (TST), was considered as our primary outcome variable. Sleep latency decreased pre to post treatment in both groups, but a significant improvement in TST was found only after the neurofeedback (NFB) protocol. Furthermore, sleep logs at home showed an overall improvement only in the neurofeedback group, whereas the sleep logs in the lab remained the same pre to post training. Only NFB training resulted in an increase in TST. The mixed results concerning perception of sleep might be related to methodological issues, such as the different locations of the training and sleep measurements.


Primary insomnia Sleep disorders Treatment Neurofeedback Biofeedback 



This study was supported by the Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek-Vlaanderen (Belgium), research grant FWOG.0067.05. Furthermore we like to thank Jela Illegems for her help with the organisation and execution of the tele-neurofeedback protocol, Brainquiry B.V. for providing the hardware and software and finally the help and support of Michiel Kleinnijenhuis is acknowledged in customizing the software.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aisha Cortoos
    • 1
  • Elke De Valck
    • 1
  • Martijn Arns
    • 2
  • Marinus H. M. Breteler
    • 3
  • Raymond Cluydts
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Unit Biological PsychologyVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Brainclinics Diagnostics B.V.NijmegenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Behavioral Science Institute, Dept. Of Clinical PsychologyRadboud Universiteit NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands

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