Virtual reality could help people with insomnia, according to new research from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University.
Scientists invited 12 healthy students into their lab and placed an EEG monitor—or a device that measures electrical brain activity—on their heads. The students laid down and were fitted with a VR headset that contained an artistically interpreted visualization of those brainwaves. (A projector also played this visualization on a back wall, which the subjects didn’t see during the experience since they were wearing headsets. But it makes for some really great photos.) The more excited the person’s brain was, the more active the visualization would be, with greater contrast, color, and amplitude.
What researchers found was that after 10 minutes, subjects reported a significant drop in what’s called “pre-sleep cognitive arousal.” That means their minds were quieter and in the state we know leads to good sleep.