PEMF Therapy and Insomnia

PEMF & Insomnia / Sleep Disorders (abstract from our NTA members only material)


Sleep takes up one third of the adult life. Although the full function of sleep is not understood, the basic need for sleep is accepted in almost all mammals. Sleep is divided into two types: Rapid eye movement (REM) and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep.  Most sleep is NREM sleep, comprising 80 percent of total sleep time in the adult. The most critical part of NREM sleep occurs early at night, when most slow-wave sleep (SWS) occurs. SWS is the deepest, most difficult to interrupt, and most refreshing of the sleep stages. During recovery from sleep deprivation, SWS is the first to rebound. The decline in the proportion of SWS with aging is possibly related to the overall deterioration of sleep, resulting in an increase in sleep complaints that characterize the older population.

REM sleep cycles on and off throughout the night. By age 2 years and through adulthood, the percentage of REM sleep falls to approximately 20 to 25 percent of total sleep time. REM sleep is divided into tonic and phasic events, and has several characteristic features. Tonic REM includes mixed brain cortical frequency, fast activity on EEG, theta activity in the hippocampus and loss of muscle tone. The phasic components of REM sleep include rapid eye movements, muscle twitches, brain activity spikes and autonomic nervous system variability with fluctuations in respiratory rate, heart rate, and blood pressure.

NREM sleep is divided into four stages:

  • Stage 1 occupies 2 to 5 percent of sleep time and is marked by slow rolling eye movements.
  • Stage 2 is also considered light sleep and makes up approximately 45 to 55 percent of total sleep time and is marked by the presence of K complexes and sleep spindles on EEG. Sleep spindles are episodic, rhythmical complexes with a frequency of 7 to 14 cycles per second grouped in sequences lasting 1 to 2 seconds.
  • Stages 3 and 4 sleep are considered deep or SWS.

SWS is prominent in youth and diminishes in the elderly. It is present for about 10 to 20 percent of sleep time and predominates in the first part of the night. The EEG feature of SWS is the delta wave, a high-voltage wave pattern with a frequency range of 2Hz or slower. Stage 3 sleep is defined as sleep consisting of 20 to 50 percent delta waves, and Stage 4 is defined as greater than 50 percent delta waves.

Sleep becomes easily disturbed. The International Classification of Sleep Disorders categorizes sleep disturbances as:

  1. Dyssomnias or disorders that result in insomnia or excessive sleepiness; the dyssomnias include the sleep disorders arising from bodily malfunctions, such as psychophysiological insomnia, obstructive and central sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome (RLS), and periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD).
  2. Parasomnias or disorders of arousal, partial arousal, or sleep stage transition Examples of parasomnias include sleepwalking, sleep terrors, sleep talking, nightmares, REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), bruxism, and enuresis.
  3. Sleep disorders associated with medical or psychiatric disorders.

Sleep disorders associated with medical and psychiatric conditions include those secondary to mood disorders, alcoholism, neurological disorders such as parkinsonism and dementia, and gastroesophageal reflux.

Sleep complaints often involve three areas of sleep disturbance:

  1. Our sense of not getting enough sleep (insomnia),
  2. Excessive sleepiness or fatigue during the day (excessive daytime somnolence [EDS]), and
  3. Unusual events during sleep (parasomnias).

How can magnetic field therapy help with sleep disorders?

Treatment Goals

    • Maintaining good health is basic.
    • Whole body balancing is key to regulate the sympathetic and parasympathetic or autonomic nervous system balance. Imbalance here is a major contributor to feeling stressed and amplifying the sleep disorder.
    • Control the sleep disorder and improve energy, sleep, rest, capacity for recovery and overall function.
    • Attempt to reduce the cause/s.
    • Daily use.
    • Stress reduction.
    • Reduce dependence on medications for the long haul.

How is sleep disorder typically treated?

Most sleep disorders are secondary to other problems. Only a small percent are due to brain functions that specifically control sleep. Because finding the cause can be so complex, the path of least resistance is to simply treat the sleep problem as if it was a primary problem. As a result, sleep problems are usually treated with medications. Most sleep, or hypnotic, medications carry side effects or can result in dependence if used longer term. Short term use, for example, if there is an emotional or physical crisis, carries little risk. The newer medications appear to be safer but have not been studied for long term use.

Clearly, if there are underlying medical conditions or medication side effects they should be managed as well.

Unfortunately, there is very little knowledge or interest in the medical community in helping sleep dysfunctions with behavioral approaches. As seen from the review above, sleep hygiene is very important. Many, if not most, sleep problems relate to behavior patterns that lead to difficulty with sleeping. Watching the 11 o’clock p.m. news may be very disturbing and lead to issues with sleep and dreaming. If one of the functions of sleep is restoration, not only of the physical body but also of the psyche and emotional “bodies,” giving the right messages at entry to sleep is critical to positive and sound sleep and function the next day.

Magnetic therapies
One of the most common feelings people describe with the use of magnetic fields is relaxation or drowsiness, whether with static or pulsed magnetic fields.

Since such a large percent of the causes of sleep problems are not directly sleep control related, treatment of the rest of the body is needed. To this end, use of magnetic therapies for most of the other conditions covered on this site, will also tend to help with sleep coincidently. This includes the major actions of magnetic therapies in relaxing muscles, improving circulation and decreasing stress.

As far as the brain itself is concerned, magnetic therapies will affect both brain frequencies directly through resonance entrainment, or frequency following, effects or neurochemical or structural effects. Since magnetic fields also have acupuncture-like actions, they will have some similar results.

A number of magnetic therapy studies have found that by treating the underlying condition, sleep, when measured as an outcome, improves too.

Causes of insomnia include:

-Psychiatric issues: Anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder.
-Medical conditions:  Sleep apnea, Restless leg syndrome, respiratory and cardiac conditions.
-Medications: Steroids, antidepressants, antihypertensives, theophlline
-Stimulants:  Coffee, energy drinks, soda, tea, caffeine
-Life events:  Family, work, school or health related events good or bad can cause insomnia.
-Hormone imbalances: Pregnancy, PMS, menopause, hot flashes

Here are a few things you can do to help improve your quality of sleep:

– Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day.  Avoid taking naps.
– Do not consume alcohol or large meals before bedtime.
– Do not consume caffeinated beverages after lunch or within 6 hours of going to bed.
– Do not exercise within 3 to 5 hours of going to sleep.
– Do not have a television or computer in the bedroom
– Use a Earth Based PEMF Device like the iMRS

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