Treatment with electrical vestibular nerve stimulation (VeNS) may improve sleep-related and quality of life (QOL) outcomes among young adults with insomnia, according to study results presented at the 2023 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, held from June 3 to 7 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Insomnia can affect patients from any age group, but young-adults are at increased risk. This may be due to high levels of electronics use at night, stress from school, and poor sleep hygiene. VeNS is a promising treatment that may help regulate sleep-wake cycles and circadian rhythm.
For the study, researchers sought to assess the effect of VeNS therapy on sleep outcomes in young adults with insomnia.
The researchers conducted a randomized, double blind, sham-controlled trial with young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 years with Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) scores of ≥15. The intervention arm (n=40) underwent VeNS for 30 minutes per day, with a total of 5 sessions per week for 4 weeks. The control group (n=40) received sham treatment for the same time period. The primary outcome was change in ISI scores over the 4-week treatment period.
VeNS treatment led to a statistically significant decrease in ISI scores from day 0 to day 28 (P <.001).
At day 28, patients treated with VeNS had greater reductions in ISI scores, compared with the control group individuals (mean score change, 7.23 [95% CI, 6.78-7.67] vs 0.98 [95% CI, 0.89-1.06] respectively; P <.001).
The intervention group exhibited greater improvements in overall well-being according to mental health and emotional state outcomes of depression, anxiety, and stress (P <.001). QOL scores also showed greater improvement among the intervention vs control arm (P <.001).
Over 4 weeks, the use of VeNS led to a clinically meaningful decrease in ISI scores and led to improvements in general well-being in young adults with insomnia, the researchers noted.
“VeNS may have potential as a drug-free and non-invasive therapy to improve sleep outcomes,” they concluded.
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Kumar Goothy SS, Macias S, Robinson R, McCulloch E, Watson S, McKeown J. Effect of electrical vestibular nerve stimulation on sleep quality in young adults with insomnia: a randomized controlled trial. Abstract presented at: SLEEP 2023; June 3-7, 2023; Indianapolis, IN. Abstract 0394.