By reproducing optimal brain states for sleep, NeuroLight can improve quality of sleep.
Wakefulness and sleep states have their own characteristic signatures. Sleep states are of particular interest, because each stage of sleep is (at least partially) defined by prominent rhythmic network activity in specific frequency bands. Sleep occurs in cycles, during which sleep alternates between two distinct modes: REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and non-REM sleep. There are several (three or four, depending on classification) recognized stages of sleep each associated with specific bands of neural oscillations—brainwaves. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) divides NREM into three stages: N1, N2, and N3. (An older classification used to recognize four stages where N3 was subdivided into “delta sleep,” N3, and “slow-wave sleep,” N4. The sleep cycle proceeds as a succession of the non-REM sleep stages followed by the REM sleep: N1 → N2 → N3 → N2 → REM. REM sleep occurs as a person returns to stage 2 or 1 from a deep sleep.
Some researchers recognize another stage of deep sleep, the non-REM slow-wave deep sleep, which is characterized by slow waves of 1 Hz and below. This stage is believed to be particularly important for consolidating short-term memory into long-term memory. Erosion of the slow-wave sleep is associated with memory loss and could be indicative — or, indeed, lead to — the onset of neurodegenerative diseases, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Sleep is regulated by two processes: circadian rhythms and sleep homeostasis.
Circadian rhythm is a 25-hour endogenous rhythm that regulates the waking-sleeping cycle. Sunlight entrains the brain to shorten the endogenous 25-hour cycle to a 24-hour cycle and synchronize it with the local time so that people sleep during the night and are awake during the day.
Sleep homeostasis is the healthy balance of sleep. When a person does not sleep enough, sleep deficit accumulates making the person sleepy, increasing the duration of total sleep time as well as increasing deep sleep periods. This catch-up continues until the person makes up lost hours of sleep. If a person sleeps too much, this pushes the pendulum in the other direction so that people sleep less.
1. CDC 2. https://fortune.com/2016/11/30/sleep-productivity-rand-corp-411-billion/ 3. https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/data_statistics.html 4. https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/data_statistics.html 5. Source: medlineplus.gov 6. Source: sleepfoundation.org
Reproducing optimal brain states can be beneficial in numerous applications.
Through future clinical studies, we hope to demonstrate how NeuroLight can provide benefits to other areas of health care, increase productivity for commercial spaces, and even provide new means of entertainment.
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