The Full Story
Why a little band could have big consequences!
The story starts years ago, and had little to do with PTSD or the iBand+PTSD Edition. It began with researchers trying to determine what Rapid Eye Movement (REM) was doing, and why it was doing it. Since then, REM has fascinated neurologists and medical personnel, as well as the growing field of sleep research.
(All underlined terms are live links to articles which go further in depth. For the most part these articles are published in respected scientific journals and are peer reviewed.)
Sleep studies were started over 100 years ago with a French scientist - Henri Pieron - with the publishing of his book, “Le probleme physiologique du sommeil.” He was the ﬁrst to examine sleep from the perspective of physiology. After that in the 20’s Dr. Kleitman, and later one of his students Dr. Aserinsky - discovered the amazing REM sleep state.
From there, research into REM grew dramatically because of it’s mysteriousness and universal nature. REM also just didn’t make much sense, which was even more intriguing to researchers.
Here’s much of what they discovered. For unknown reasons, your brain neurons emit chemical compounds that awaken the memory neurons responsible for your daily (episodic) memories. Your brain also paralyzes the majority of your muscles, and at the same time heightens your breathing and heart rate. In essence your brain becomes as active as when you are awake - during which you are asleep reliving full color memories! Your breathing and heart rate are increased, and yet you are paralyzed in your bed. This is why REM sleep is sometimes called paradoxical sleep.
During normal sleep, your eyes slowly wander independently of one another - not focused - pointing in totally different directions. When REM state begins, your eyes lock together and focus at imagined images near and far - very quickly - almost if the relived memories are playing in “fast forward” mode. (This is where the term Rapid Eye Movement originates).
Then just as quickly as REM started, it stops. Your breathing and heart rate slow, you are no longer paralyzed and your eyes begin to slowly wander about. And as an additional incentive for more REM research, it was quickly discovered that all mammals and birds also experienced REM sleep!
And after all the research, the question of “why” is still just a group of theories.
We know that REM is a real, universal biological and neurological event determined by your subconscious brain and nervous system. We also know that it is important for homeotherm’s (mammals and birds) well being and life itself.
Intriguing for sure. And a powerful event in our daily lives - and because we are asleep during REM - we are not usually aware it is even happening!
But what does REM have to do with PTSD?
Researchers came to the logical conclusion that if PTSD lives within the memories of those who have experienced a traumatic event, that possibly those memories are being replayed over and over during REM sleep. And after much research, they concluded that is the case!
It seems - theoretically - that because the events were so emotionally debilitating that the brain can’t fully process them, like more mundane memories, and therefore just plays them over and over. What happens - theoretically - is this “trauma loop” doesn’t diminish the effect, but may increase the post traumatic stress. The more the memory is replayed, the stronger - and more emotional - it may become.
Research has shown that REM sleep is the replay of the PTSD episodic memories, and that the adverse effects of this REM/PTSD association not only causes sleep abnormalities, but affects waking time as well. PTSD lives as memories, in our brain, in our neurons. To modify this “traumatic loop” REM sleep state is a door - a clever way to allow a sufferer to “enter” the world of their memories and break the loop to put the memories to bed. This diminishes the traumatic memory’s intensity and emotion, so they no longer interfere with sleep, awake time and life.
Why the iBand+ PTSD Edition?
Research up to now has been expensive and limited to medical and university sleep labs. This also severely limits the data. Funding grants are required, which slows the breakthroughs.
Science and common sense point to REM as a significant door to ultimately controlling traumatic memories without deadening them with drugs. To be the most effective, the app included with the iBand+PTSD Edition will offer training tips for both pre-sleep and during REM. For people to improve in this new area of mental exercise - dream manipulation and management - training and practice will be necessary for the best outcomes. This a new world - and hopes are high that it will be an effective help for self improvement on level never available before the iBand+ PTSD Edition!
Note: If this document is read online (recommended), the underlined words and phrases are live links and will direct your browser to the source of the statements as well as further information for in depth research. More research is added daily as this area of sleep studies and PTSD are very active worldwide. It might be a good idea for individuals to create a folder for the documents on their computer to save the most interesting research and discoveries.
The author attributes the comments to other outside sources, hopefully listed and linked here. Other sources are also linked below with a brief synopsis for each link.
Research effects and conclusions.
All the information below was obtained by a simple Google search of REM and PTSD. As shown below - much confirming evidence has proven the substantial linkage between the REM sleep disturbance and heightened PTSD traumatic effects.
Facts derived from research:
1.The development of PTSD symptoms after a traumatic event is associated with a fragmented pattern of REM sleep. Link
2.There is a link between subjective symptoms and REM sleep phenomena acutely following trauma. Link
3.REM abnormalities after trauma are shown to contribute to PTSD - even during wake times. Effects include hyperarousal, exaggerated amygdala activity. Use of drugs to suppress adrenergic activity in PTSD restores REM sleep and outcomes. Link
4.Strong linking between PTSD and REM behavior disorder (RBD). Enactment of often violent dream mentation. In other disorder showing the same symptoms, there is often a neurologic disorder or psychiatric comorbidity - but in PTSD, that is not the case. Meaning that lessening the trauma dreams effects alone will potentially lessen or eliminate PTSD. Link
5.Study shows that dysregulation of the REM sleep control system, particularly phasic event generation, may be involved in the pathogenesis of PTSD. This ﬁnding of a speciﬁc disturbance of sleep unique to PTSD may have signiﬁcant implications for the design of effective treatments for PTSD. Link
6.Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is used during waking counseling methods to change habits and activities. This works to an extent with PTSD, however we propose cognitive sleeping behavior therapy (CSBT) - new- as a way to dig deeper to repair dreams by control methods.
7.Sleep disturbance during REM is a core feature, not a secondary disturbance. Sleep focused treatments will improve PTSD outcomes. More research and studies should focus on this area. Link
8.Clinicians should consider that REM sleep disturbances defeat current-ﬁrstline treatments of PTSD (CBT and pharmacology). “ The ﬁeld is ripe for prospective and longitudinal studies in high-risk groups to clarify how changes in sleep physiology and neurobiology contribute to increased risk of poor psychiatric outcomes.” Link
9.Multiple sleep studies (REM) in association with PTSD have conﬁrmed that heightened arousal system clusters in DSM-III-R and nightmares were seen in patients suffering from PTSD. These sleep effects are predominately during REM sleep and are consistent across these studies. Link
10.“Relative regional cerebral metabolic rate of glucose in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and wakefulness was explored in combat veterans with and without post traumatic stress disorder PTSD, using positron emission tomography. Hypermetabolism in brain regions involved in arousal regulation, fear responses, and reward processing persist during REM sleep in combat veterans with PTSD.” There is a need to focus treatments on the dream/memory activities during REM to calm down these hyper effects. Link
11.To determine the inconsistent results of a variety of PTSD/REM studies. polysomnographic studies were used. These studies conﬁrmed that PTSD suffers also had sleep disorders, and the inconsistent results were probably due to moderating variables (drug, alcohol use and others) Link
12.“ Clinically, sleep disturbances are core features of PTSD that are often resistant to ﬁrst-line treatments, independently contribute to poor daytime functioning, and often require sleep-focused treatments.” Link
13.“Physiologically, these observations suggest that PTSD is partially mediated by sleep disruption and its neurobiological correlates that are not adequately addressed by first-line treatments. However, polysomnographic studies have provided limited insights into the neurobiological underpinnings of PTSD during sleep. There is an urgent need to apply state-of-the-science sleep measurement methods to bridge the apparent gap between the clinical signiﬁcance of sleep disturbances in PTSD and the limited understanding of their neurobiological underpinnings.” Link
14.After Hurricane Andrew… The findings showed that the role of partial sleep deprivation in predisposing individuals to an aggravating PTSD. Link
15.“ Sleep disturbances immediately after a traumatic event predict future psychiatric and physical symptoms. For example, disturbed dreaming has been shown to predict a delayed onset of PTSD in veterans of the Vietnam War and in victims of crime. Similarly, the continued presence of trauma-related sleep disturbances in female rape victims predicts future alcohol use and physical symptoms independently of other symptoms of PTSD or depression. Sleep disturbances have also been associated with a post- traumatic decline in immune function, as manifested by a decrease in the cytotoxicity of natural killer cells.” Link
16.PTSD sufferers also exhibited insomnia and sleep-disordered breathing. More study is needed to determine the commonality and continuity of comorbid obstructive sleep apnea in PTSD patients. Link
17.Rat studies - “The results suggest that conditioned fear causes REMS alterations, including difficulty in initiating a REMS episode as indicated by the diminution in the number of seq-REMS episodes. Another finding, the increase in phasic activity, agrees with the inference from clinical investigations that retrieval of fearful memories can be associated with the long-term REMS disturbances characteristic of post traumatic stress disorder.” Fearful memories exhibited in rat subjects during REM are an additional proof of REM sleep being a core event in PTSD. Link
18.Article from The Ranch (recoveryranch.com) Points to REM as a way patients can cope with PTSD if it is guided by therapists during the day. Rapid Eye movement can be induced during wake while showing images can - at least in the short term - lessen the PTSD sleep and wake disruptions. (Journal of Current Biology)
19.The bottom line - things we KNOW from research - both voluminous and consistent - confirm the core role of REM in PTSD.
20. REM is not a byproduct of PTSD, but a core element.
Summary of just these few research papers - found by the following search: Google scholarly search - “rem sleep and ptsd”
By changing the intensity of REM sleep's memories , symptoms of PTSD are lessened both during sleep and waking periods.
Research has begun to focus on REM as a way to modify and alleviate PTSD.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) during waking hours is recognized as an effective tool combating PTSD as well as a variety of addictive afflictions. However, these sessions are not nearly close enough to the REM cycle - which is during the patient’s sleep time at home. ( We are suggesting Cognitive Sleep Behavior Therapy (CSBT) will be more effective due to it’s proximity to the REM disturbances.
EMDR - Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing - is effective but somewhat controversial, however over 20,000 practitioners are using EDMR with positive results. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the VA and DOD strongly recommend the therapy for sufferers of PTSD. (We suggest that allowing the patient to modify dream behavior WHILE dreaming and in the REM state is a logical extension of EDMR.)
All research points to adding Cognitive Sleep Behavior Therapy (CSBT) to modify a core element of PTSD - REM nightmares. The iBand+PTSD Edition offers a low cost system allowing patients to train themselves to become aware in a semi-sleepstate that they are experiencing a traumatic recall memory. At that time they can modify and lessen the dream to alleviate the stress - right at the core of the event. This promises to be a truly breakthrough therapy addition for sufferers of PTSD.
How the iBand+ PTSD Edition works to allow CSBT.
The band is worn before the patient goes to sleep as normal. The band contains dry EEG sensors that monitor the brain wave functions during sleep and with a Bluetooth connection pass the data to the smartphone on a nightstand.
2.When the app on the phone detects the unique wave form associated with REM sleep it creates two actions to make the sleeping patient aware of the dream while not fully awakening him/her.
3.Small LED lights flash in the band which focus on the closed eyelids alerting the sleeper to the fact that he is dreaming and giving him ability to control the dream while still asleep.
4.Under pillow small speakers play soft music (selected by the patient) to reinforce his conscious understanding that he can modify the dream while still asleep.
5.Predetermined training gives the patient a plan to specifically modify the replay of traumatic events. i.e. a saying, a weather modification, a sign or graphic, a different place all together. Whatever works for each patient is what they will use.
6.The patient can continue to use the iBand+ PTSD Edition to stay in control of any reoccurring dream episodes.
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