Effects of homeopathic medicines on polysomnographic sleep of young adults with histories of coffee-related insomnia

Iris R. Bell, Amy Howerter, Nicholas Jackson, Mikel Aickin, Carol M. Baldwin, Richard R. Bootzin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Homeopathy, a common form of alternative medicine worldwide, relies on subjective patient reports for diagnosis and treatment. Polysomnography offers a modern methodology for evaluating the objective effects of taking homeopathic remedies that clinicians claim exert effects on sleep quality in susceptible individuals. Animal studies have previously shown changes in non rapid eye movement sleep with certain homeopathic remedies. Methods: Young adults of both sexes (ages 18-31) with above-average scores on standardized personality scales for either cynical hostility or anxiety sensitivity (but not both) and a history of coffee-induced insomnia participated in the month-long study. At-home polysomnographic recordings were obtained on successive pairs of nights once per week for a total of eight recordings (nights 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23). Subjects (N=54) received placebo pellets on night 8 (single-blind) and verum pellets on night 22 (double-blind) in 30c doses of one of two homeopathic remedies, Nux Vomica or Coffea Cruda. Subjects completed daily morning sleep diaries and weekly Pittsburgh sleep quality index scales, as well as profile of mood states scales at bedtime on polysomnography nights. Results: Verum remedies significantly increased PSG total sleep time and NREM, as well as awakenings and stage changes. Changes in actigraphic and self-rated scale effects were not significant. Conclusions: The study demonstrated the feasibility of using in-home, all-night sleep recordings to study homeopathic remedy effects. Findings are similar though not identical to those reported in animals with the same remedies. Possible mechanisms include initial disruption of the nonlinear dynamics of sleep patterns by the verum remedies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)505-511
Number of pages7
JournalSleep Medicine
Volume12
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2011

Fingerprint

Coffee
Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders
Young Adult
Sleep
Materia Medica
Polysomnography
Strychnos nux-vomica
Coffea
Homeopathy
Nonlinear Dynamics
Hostility
REM Sleep
Feasibility Studies
Complementary Therapies
Personality
Anxiety
Placebos

Keywords

  • Coffea Cruda
  • Coffee
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Homeopathy
  • Insomnia
  • Nux Vomica
  • Polysomnography
  • Young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Effects of homeopathic medicines on polysomnographic sleep of young adults with histories of coffee-related insomnia. / Bell, Iris R.; Howerter, Amy; Jackson, Nicholas; Aickin, Mikel; Baldwin, Carol M.; Bootzin, Richard R.

In: Sleep Medicine, Vol. 12, No. 5, 05.2011, p. 505-511.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Bell, Iris R. ; Howerter, Amy ; Jackson, Nicholas ; Aickin, Mikel ; Baldwin, Carol M. ; Bootzin, Richard R. / Effects of homeopathic medicines on polysomnographic sleep of young adults with histories of coffee-related insomnia. In: Sleep Medicine. 2011 ; Vol. 12, No. 5. pp. 505-511.
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