The accurate assessment of sleep is critical to better understand and evaluate its role in health and disease. The boom in wearable technology is part of the digital health revolution and is producing many novel, highly sophisticated and relatively inexpensive consumer devices collecting data from multiple sensors and claiming to extract information about users’ behaviors, including sleep.

Wearable sleep-trackers (e.g., wristbands, armbands, smartwatches, headbands, rings, sensor clips) are part of a larger consumer sleep technology (CST) family. CST includes smartphones, in-bed sensors, and contactless sensors, as well as other devices designed to enhance sleep and/or improve sleep behaviors such as neurostimulators, bio-feedback devices, and brainwave entrainment systems.

Frontal cerebral thermal therapy insomnia

Insomnia is a disorder of hyperarousal and increased activity in the frontal cortex during sleep may contribute to hyperarousal in insomnia patients, thereby preventing the reduction in metabolism that occurs in normal sleepers. Sleep disturbances have been shown to correlate with frontal metabolism during sleep, and alterations in frontal metabolism have been demonstrated following successful treatment. Reduction in brain metabolism by means of cerebral hypothermia is used as a neuroprotective therapy in neurosurgery, emergency medicine, and anesthesiology. Studies have shown that the application of a cooling stimulus to the scalp decreases brain temperature in the underlying cortex in both animals and humans. Biomedical engineering models demonstrate that cooling of the brain gray matter can be achieved by selective head cooling on the surface. A pilot functional neuroimaging study showed that frontal cerebral thermal therapy reduced frontal cerebral metabolism during sleep in insomnia patients.

This study was a double-blinded, randomized controlled trial conducted to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a noninvasive medical device worn over the forehead that delivered frontal cerebral thermal therapy in relation to a credible device control (sham vestibular stimulation) in insomnia patients. Changes in polysomnographic (PSG) measures of latency to persistent sleep and sleep efficiency were the co-primary outcome measures. Self-reported AEs were assessed as safety outcomes. Additional supportive analyses of objective and subjective measures of sleep were also performed to further clarify the clinical meaningfulness of the device in the treatment of insomnia.

Results of study suggest that the clinical benefit observed with frontal cerebral thermal therapy treatment would be similar in clinical practice to that observed for hypnotic drugs.

Ebb Insomnia Therapy, formerly the Cerêve System, is one such prescription device that physically cools the foreheads of people with insomnia, thereby reducing frontal cortex activity and reducing latency to Stage 1 and Stage 2 sleep. The Food and Drug Administration cleared this device in mid-2016, and Ebb has since been made available to select sleep centers around the country. Ebb works well with people who are motivated to change their behavior to improve their health. This device should be put on about 30 minutes before a person wants to fall asleep. It’ll take about 10 or 15 minutes for the device to cool down. Then the relaxation response starts to kick in. Once they start to feel that, then they can get into bed and drift into sleep. Ebb can be used nightly for those who have insomnia every night or can be used on an as-needed basis for people whose insomnia is episodic.