A cool head helps insomnia

Lowering your brain's temperature with a cooling cap could help insomnia sufferers

Suffering from insomnia? Throw away the sleeping pills, the key to a good night’s rest could lie in a special cap that cools the brain.

Doctors found that when they fitted a special cap filled with tubes of cold water to insomnia sufferers, they fell asleep quickly and enjoyed a more restful night’s sleep.

According to researchers, lowering the temperature of the brain helps to slow its activity and aid rest.

THE GOOD SLEEP GUIDE

‘The most significant finding from this study is that we can have a beneficial impact on the sleep of insomnia patients via a safe mechanism that can be made available for home, ‘ says Dr Eric Nofzinger of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Researchers set up an experiment to treat sleepless patients by inducing ‘cerebral hypothermia’, in order to cool the brain and slow its activity.

They chose 12 people with primary insomnia – not linked to any other conditions – and 12 healthy control patients, then fitted them with soft plastic caps.

Insomnia sufferers took just 13 minutes to fall asleep, less time than the 16 minutes experience by the healthy subjects, while both groups slept for 89 per cent of the time they were in bed.

Wearing a plastic cold cap in bed may not be suitable for everyone. ‘The down side is how cold is?’ says Dr Neil Stanley, a sleep consultant. ‘Most of us don’t find it pleasurable to have a cold head – and certainly not in bed.’
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