Sleep disturbances are very common: from multiple awakenings, problems falling asleep, long waking hours during the night and/or early awakening in the morning. Sleep disturbances are very common in people with electrical hypersensitivity syndrome, and can even occur in people who have taken all the right steps to optimizing sleep hygiene, such as, closing the blinds, reducing all the lights in the bedroom, eliminating all extraneous sounds in the bedroom, etc.
There are 2 types of rhythms or internal clocks associated with sleep: circadian or ultradian rhythms. Circadian rhythms are 24-25 hour cycles and are usually in sync with local day and night times. Ultradian rhythms are 90-120 minute cycles that occur both when we are awake and asleep, but usually refer to the different stages we go through during normal sleep. Ultradian rhythms occur within daily (circadian) rhythms – they occur multiple times per day.
Every living creature has circadian rhythms in their organ functions. Circadian rhythms control virtually all human functioning, primarily through the regulation of hormone production in the body. They are critical to human life. These internal rhythms usually override environmental influences in order to maintain balance in the body. Circadian rhythms include control of circulatory and metabolic functions, body temperature and brain activity.
Sleep is stimulated by excretion of large quantities of the hormone melatonin
Sleep is stimulated, among other factors, by excretion of large quantities of the hormone melatonin from the pineal gland during the dark of nighttime. Light inhibits the production of melatonin (but does not stop it altogether). Besides being involved in the entrainment of the circadian rhythm, melatonin is also involved in other physiological functions like blood pressure regulation. It is also a powerful antioxidant. There is research to suggest that long-term reduction of melatonin can potentially promote cancer because melatonin has a natural effect of scavenging radicals, which if not controlled, can lead to cancers.
Magnetic fields from a small battery-operated 0.5 mT/5 Gauss 4 Hz generator were tested in a double-blind study. Effects on sleep were studied prior to treatment and after 2 and 6 wks of treatment. They found that this field and intensity was effective in reducing sleep disturbances in 83% of the exposed group, compared with 57% in the controls. There is a strong impact psychologically of someone being studied, and changes are seen even if a placebo device is being used.
During sleep brain undergo near-synchronous slow oscillations
During much of the time of sleep, brain neurons undergo near-synchronous slow oscillations in brain cell membrane electrical activity. This is like synchronized swimming. These slow oscillations are obvious in the normal EEG. This was studied in sleeping individuals. Each high-intensity Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) pulse at <1 Hz causes an individual, high-intensity EEG slow wave that originates under the coil and spreads over the cortex of the brain. These evoked slow waves lead to a deepening of sleep and to a more widespread increase in EEG deep or slow-wave activity (0.5-4.5 Hz). This slow-wave activity is believed to play a role in brain restoration and memory consolidation. (Massimini)
So, these studies are important for us to confirm that PEMFs do affect brainwave frequency patterns, and that these results are not just by chance alone or a placebo or expectancy response.