In this report, the treatment of a 42-year-old female with a complaint of chronic sleep-onset insomnia is described. Following the unsuccessful use of relaxation training, treatment consisted of 11 sessions of EEG theta rhythm (4–7 Hz) biofeedback. Theta density and five sleep indices were monitored throughout baseline, placebo, and treatment sessions. A significant increase in theta density was accompanied by reports of a decrease in sleep latency and an increase in total sleep time. This improvement was maintained after withdrawal of medication and at 3-month follow-up.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Bixler, E. O., Kales, A., Leo, L. A., & Slye, T. A comparison of subjective estimates and objective sleep laboratory findings in insomniac patients. In M. H. Chase, W. C. Stern, & P. L. Walter (Eds.),Sleep research (Vol. 2). University of California, Los Angeles: Brain Information Service/Brain Research Institute, 1973, P. 143.
Bootzin, R. R.Stimulus control treatment for insomnia. Paper presented at the 80th Annual Conference of the American Psychological Association, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1972.
Budzynski, T. H. Biofeedback procedures in the clinic.Seminars in Psychiatry 1973,5 4.
Carskadon, M. A., Dement, W. C., Mitler, M. N., Guilleminault, C., Zarcone, V. P., & Spiegel, R. Self-reports versus sleep laboratory findings in 122 drug-free subjects with complaints of chronic insomnia.American Journal of Psychiatry 1976,133 12.
Dunlop, D.British Medical Bulletin 1970,26 236.
Dunnell, K., & Cartwright, A.Medicine takers, prescribers and hoarders. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1972.
Frankel, B. L., Buchbinder, R., Coursey, R., & Snyder, F. Sleep patterns and psychological test characteristics of chronic primary insomniacs. In M. H. Chase, W. C. Stern, & P. L. Walter (Eds.),Sleep research (Vol. 2). University of California, Los Angeles: Brain Information Service/Brain Research Institute, 1973. P. 149.
Freedman, R., & Papsdorf, J. D., Biofeedback and progressive relaxation treatment of sleeponset insomnia—a controlled all-night investigation.Biofeedback and Self-Regulation 1976,1 3.
Goldberg, D. P. The detection of psychiatric illness by questionnaire: A technique for the identification and assessment of non-psychotic illness. Institute of Psychiatry, Maudsley Monograph No. 21. Oxford University Press, 1972.
Guilleminault, C., Spiegel, R., & Dement, W.A propos des insomnies, Confrontations Psychiatriques. Caen: in press.
Hammond, E. G., & Garfinkel, L. Coronary heart disease, stroke and aortic aneurysm: Factors in etiology.Archives of Environmental Health 1969,19 167–182.
Hauri, P., Phelps, P. J., & Jordan, J. D. Biofeedback as a treatment for insomnia.Proceedings of the 7th Annual Meeting of the Biofeedback Research Society, Denver, Colorado, 1976, 34.
Haynes, S. N., Follingstad, D. R., & McGowan, W. T., Insomnia sleep patterns and anxiety level.Journal of Psychosomatic Research 1974.18 69–74.
Hersen, M., & Barlow, D. H., Single case experimental designs: Strategies for studying behaviour change. Oxford: Pergamon, 1976.
Jacobson, E.Progressive relaxation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1938.
Johns, M. W. Management of insomnia.Drugs 1972,4 290–294.
Kales, A. Psychophysiological studies of insomnia.Annals of Internal Medicine 1969,71 625–629.
Karacan, I., Williams, R. L., & Salis, P. J. New approaches to the evaluation and treatment of insomnia.Psychosomatics 1971,12 81–88.
Mitchell, K. R., & White, R. G. Self-management of severe predormital insomnia.Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry 1977,8 57–63.
Montgomery, I., Perkin, G., & Wise, D. A review of behavioural treatments for insomnia.Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry. 1975,6 93–100.
Raskin, M., Johnson, G., & Rondestvedt, J. W. Chronic anxiety treated by feedback-induced muscle relaxation.Archives of General Psychiatry, 1973,28,
Ribordy, S. C., & Denny, D. R. The behavioural treatment of insomnia. An alternative to drug therapy.Behaviour Research and Therapy 1977,15 39–50.
Shepherd, M., Cooper, B., Brown, A. C., & Kalton, G.Psychiatric illness in general practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1966.
Shimizu, K., Shiotsuki, M., & Ichino, Y. All-night electroencephalographic study of insomnia.Clinical Electroencephalography 1970,1 21–29.
Storms, M. D., & Nisbett, R. E. Insomnia and the attribution process.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1970,16(2), 319–328.
Appreciation is expressed to Dr. R. Muir, for medical supervision of the patient, and to Mr. D. F. Peck and Dr. J. I. Evans, for their comments on earlier drafts of this paper.
About this article
Cite this article
Bell, J.S. The use of EEG theata biofeedback in the treatment of a patient with sleep-onset insomnia. Biofeedback and Self-Regulation 4, 229–236 (1979). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00998824
- Health Psychology
- Treatment Session
- Sleep Time
- Sleep Latency