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Digital Health on Insomnia

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You can sleep while you’re awake. It’s a funny thing that people who come to us very often. And they complain of insomnia. They say they cannot sleep at night. And so we do put them in the lab and  we attach the electrodes to their scalp. And we look to see whether or not while they’re  laying in our sleep laboratory. Whether or not there are indications of sleep.
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In most cases what happens is this: In the morning, after awakening, or if we’re focusing on their nap time, we ask them to estimate how long they’ve been asleep. And they’re almost always wrong. They usually underestimate how much time they’ve been sleeping. So we have one objective measure. The objective measure is what we read on the EEG and there are certain EEG electrical patterns in the brain, which are pretty reliable indicators of sleep. And then there’s the conscious report, the subjective experience, and their feeling is that I wasn’t asleep during that period of time. What we find is this. In one of our recently finished projects, is that most of the brain is metaphorically asleep.
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But those parts of the brain which seem to be most related  to self, the sense of self, the experience of self remains quite active. So we think what is happening in these cases is that the brain is largely asleep. But something happens in these insomniac patients  which prevents self from going to sleep.

Now we will change the topic to insomnia. We know that stress and anxiety often lead to insomnia and sleep problems. Dr. Timothy Lane is a professor studying brain and consciousness. Cooperated with Shuang-Ho Hospital, his research is quite interesting and rare. We will see more of his research on mental illness in week 3. In this video, Dr. Lane will use a case of an insomnia patient with EEG brain testing. In the experiment, they found out that parts of the patient’s brain remain active and prevent the patient’s brain falling asleep.

Have you used your mobile to track your sleep before? We have tried web tool to detect our sleep level before, here is another project that enables users to find out their sleep level: Sleepio

Sleepio is a digital sleep improvement program featuring cognitive behavioral therapy techniques developed by sleep scientists. You could try the test without participating in their program. Please share with us how you think about this web test and its program.

If you are unable to try on this webtool, you could watch the demo video below:

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

Digital health intervention can be applied in various aspects. But each tool does have some limits. They do, however, serve the purpose to help to alleviate the situations. How would you evaluate these projects? Are they effective?

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Application of Digital Health Interventions

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