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bio-feedback for insomnia..


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Hi another question for you...

I spoke with my PCP's office yesterday.. and they want to send me to see a psychologist who does Bio-feedback for insomnia.... they told me that they want me to go see her this psychologist because they think that my insomnia is a psychological problem... :)

I do not even know what bio-feedback is... and they didnt explain it to me.. and my insomnia is not the result of a psychological problem... I dont sleep because my Hr beats to fast... and I feel sick... and am having adrenalin surges!!

I dont see how that can be psychological..

Am I too quick to judge here?? maybe they mean well.. but I just hate the fact that just because they cant find the root of things that .. I am again being labled as a nut case!!


Have any og you gone through bio feed back for sleep? they said that this is a non medication way of sleeping...

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I'm pretty sure "sleep disturbances" are listed as a symptom for POTS. I definitely deal with insomnia -- it's one of the most frustrating symptoms! I've been taking Lunesta 3 mg - but still have some trouble getting to sleep at night.

I don't really know what biofeedback is either.

Wishing you lots of restful sleep,


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Guest Finrussak

Biofeedback is a very non invasive way to gain control over some physiology...basically the methods only vary a little :in what type of sensor and what you are trying to change...its like mind over matter.

a sensor is attached, usually to one or several fingers, to monitor things like sweat and heart rate and electrical signals...and then you look at a screen and try to make things change...in some programs you try to make the screen colors change...red signifying high reaction, or hi heart rate and blue a slower rate.In others, you try to slow a blip signal...some have sound as well and you try to get the tone to lower in pitch and stay steady.

In this way you train your mind to better control your body.By concentrating on something unrelated, like a tone or a picture, your brain then automatically does what its supposed to (like lower heart rate)...

It has been proven VERY USEFUL for things like hi BP and stress and insomnia and even pain management!!! there are now programs you can get to hook up to your own pc...but guided by a professional at least for the first few months is much better.

There are also hand held devices the size of your palm...and you try to lower the tone...works fairly well but not nearly as well as the more expensive models or with a professional.

I had a couple months biofeedback years ago and it helped panic attacks better than meds!!!!!! By learning how to slow my breathing and provoke a relaxation response I could then "automatically" stop an attack by myself.( by imagining changing a screen color in my mind...like behavior modification)..then a few weeks later, my blood showed that it was Lyme wreaking havoc on brain chemicals all along and the ABX stopped them completely....

But since then I am much more responsive to relaxation tapes etc!!

I am very much in FAVOR of anything non-invasive and non medicinal to try to alleviate symptoms.

If your Dr prescribes this, most may even be covered by insurance (unlike 15 yrs ago when this sort of stuff was not).

DO IT!!!! even if not help the sleep it very well could help a host of sx!!!! and well worht the efforts!!!!

Altho tho sx may be very physical, they STILL can be controlled or improved by these types of things...thats why although some still get tachy with relaxation exercises, the episodes may be less and shorter and less frequent!!!

Dont be afraid of labelling things "psychological"...just rename them "physiological but within my ability to improve"!!!

try this site for lengthier explanation:


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Just my personal opinion here but even though your Dr. is probably incorrect in the root of your problem being psychological biofeedback is a very useful tool to learn.

If you can, I would urge you to work on educating your Dr but go ahead and try to learn the bio feedback. It will not hurt you at all and I've found it to be something useful many times in many ways in my life.

I really think even though it may not help your insomnia, it will be a tool you can use for other things.

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Your sleep problems sound related to the tackycardia you mentioned on the other thread. In that case I don't think biofeedback will solve the problem BUT I agree with the others on here...Biofeedback is really worth learning. I would describe it as meditation to an extent...you learn to go to your happy place, relax your body so you can better control a situation. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but it was taught to me by a coach years ago and has been a tremendous help to me in all aspects of my life. You can also think of it as positive visualization. There are some books out that do an okay job, but its easier to learn with somebody helping you along. If you have some favorite music, try laying down in a comfy spot, having the room a cool temperature, dimmed lights, etc....lay down and listen to the music and really focus on just going into the music, controlling your breathing and letting your mind drift away. I use biofeedback to keep myself from fainting (most of the time :unsure: ) I know that when my body starts to feel pre-syncope or go right into it, I need to sqeeze my muscles really tightly, and I use keywords in my head to help control the situation. There are other times when I just faint and it can be spooky coming back from a faint, especially when you aren't able to really hear or see again, that being able to breathe through the situation really helps me. NIH did a study on hypnosis and relating it to orthostatic intolerance. I did the study and forget all the details, but it was based on teaching hypnosis, and than monitoring a person again under hypnosis to see if they could control their blood pressure to a point.

Search for the root of the problem...I don't think your sleep troubles sound mental, more like a physical problem. Totally go learn biofeedback...its alot like meditation, but is more guided and is a great help.

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Hmmm.. interesting...I had never really heard of bio-feed back... and I was insulted that PCP...thinking that stuff is psychological...

But it is worth a try.. a few weeks after my grandmother died in 2002.. my caseworker set me up with a lady who does meditation... and she taught me a few things... and I was actually able to get to e meditative state... I had never felt so relaxed in my life.. my body felt so weird... (LOL maybe thats what it is like to feel normal!!)

but i think that I will give it a trry.... I am hoping that they will not udge me based on my past "mental health" diagnosises.. (being depression and PTSD...)

Thanks guys


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Hi Dizzygirl;

I haven't been here in a while, but, thought your thread was very interesting so I thought I would chime my opinion in.

I have studied bio-feedback many years ago. What I don't understand is why it would have anything to do with your insomnia. I get insomnia because of the racing heart. I was told by several doctors that my insomnia isn't psychological. Seems to me that the bio-feedback won't help you to relax to go to sleep. That does not make sense to me. You will be laying there concentrating on what your body is doing. I do agree with Poohbear, bio-feedback can be a very valuable tool. I guess my question is, you need concentration for bio-feedback, how can you relax and fall asleep when you are into bio-feedback.

I have been seeing a psychologist that specializes in relaxation and meditation and she has been working wonders for me. My instances for anxiety have deminished significantly. I relax and "decompress" at night so when I go to bed I fall asleep and the insomnia is less.

Good luck on your healing journey!

KathyP :unsure:

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hi :unsure:

I too have sleep problems and was going wonderfully well on sleeping tablets. However my specialist said they can be quite dangerous long term and cause personality change etc (at the time i was thinking well without them im darn grumpy due to pain from lack of sleep so maybe we shold be worried about the short term personality changes? hehe)

Anyway.. she sent me to a hypnotherapist. I was thinking OOOOOKAAAAAAY, righty O then. But hey i tried it, and im actually really suprised at the results. It did not happen over night, however i can say that previously i struggled to get to sleep at night and struggled to wake up in the morning (i woke up at 11 most days) ... now 3 months later i am waking up at 9:30.

I have spent years (literally) trying to move my sleep cycle back and this is the first major improvement ive made in years. I admit i am on a very low does antidepressent to replace the sleeping tablets (doxepin 4mg).

I just wanted to let you know that sometimes even if the symptom isnt caused by pyschological problems sometimes our mind can help us work around them. I dont know anything about biofeedback sorry, but i know i rolled my eyes at hypnotherapy, yet its done me the world of good.

So yeh, maybe try it and see how it goes. You never know what may help you! ;)

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Hi folks--

Just thought I'd let you all know that I went to see that psychologist about the bio-feedback. She was actually very nice.

She said that she as seen and treated a few other POTS patients.. to help them.. which caught me by surprise.. I would like to meet some of these fellow potsies here in the ERIE area!

But she asked alot of question about my symptoms.. and stufff about my past.. and so on..

I was very honest with her.. I told her that I really dont like this pots business.. and that I want my life back.. I want to live like a normal 23 yrs old.. and work and finish college.. and on and on i blabbed.

I hope she doesnt think I am a nut case.

I was sick the morning I had to go in and see her.. I was getting very tachy and extremely over heated and nauseous..probably not the best time to go to a head doc. but I thought what is the worst she is going to do tell me I am a crazy?? been there done that...so what can it hurt.

But she was real good.. she turned off the cieling lights, and brought me some ice water... that was nice of her

I point blank asked her if she thought my "problems" where ones of a psychological nature.. and she said No I dont believe they are, she said you have a very real illness" How about that a psychologist who gets it!!"

She wants me to come back for 4-10 sesssion to teach me "deep relaxation" so that maybe I canmmangae pain and stuff alittle better.

Worth a shot..

Just thought i'd share with you


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linda -

i'm so glad that you had such a good visit! i'll be very eager to see how things go for you as i'm still definitely lacking in the sleep department & am pretty open to trying whatever (er...almost!)

:) melissa

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Yes I will keep you guys updated on how this "deep muscle ralaxation" goes..

I saw my regular counselor the day after I seen the Psychologist and I told her about the Bio-feedback thing... she also did not see how bio-feedback is going to help me sleep.. But though that it cant hurt to learn... as we all can always use a few pointers to chill out..

Melissa so sorry that you are still in insomnia land.. wish you where in the land of sweet dreams...Here's hoping that the sand man will grace your doorstep tonight!!! :)

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