Hyperbaric Oxygen And Insomnia
The group found that when they administer oxygen, the subjects’ brains switch out of active sleep, and remain in a deactivated, slow-wave state the entire time. Interestingly, when the demonstrators removed the oxygen, the brain started cycling back through active, or rapid-eye-movement sleep again.
Deactivated or slow wave sleep is the deepest stage of sleep, during which the brain oscillated at a very slow, once-per-second rhythm. This stage is where metabolites are cleared from the brain and proteins re-form. Slow-wave sleep seems to be especially suited to recovery for both the brain and body. Slow-wave sleep also plays a role in memory consolidation.
The research highlights the potential for oxygen for humans in a clinical setting. Hyperbaric oxygen chambers could therefore be used to enhance slow-wave states during sleep to ensure that individuals who may have disrupted sleep are getting enough of the restorative, slow-wave sleep.
Long et al. conducted a study assessing the efficacy of hyperbaric oxygen in alleviating sleep disorders in children with cerebral palsy. A total of 71 children were recruited for the study and divided into two groups based on age. The data concluded that the total sleep items were significantly different pre-HBO and post-HBO and that hyperbaric oxygen is beneficial to improve sleep and safe for children with cerebral palsy.
View the Studies
Hyperoxia enhances slow-wave forebrain states in urethane-anesthetized and naturally sleeping rats.
Resting easy: Oxygen promotes deep, restorative sleep