Now, a cap to beat insomnia

London: Suffering from insomnia? You can now shun the sleeping pill and get a good night`s shut-eye by wearing a "nightcap" which keeps the brain of the wearer cool,
say doctors.

A US team has devised the cap filled with tubes of chilled water that calms over-active minds, allowing wearers to switch off and get a good night`s sleep, the `Daily Mail`
newspaper reported.

In a study, insomniacs who wore the "nightcap" slept just as well as those without the condition. The cap works by cooling a part of the brain called the pre-frontal cortex,
which lies just below the forehead.

In those who have no trouble dropping off at night, the pre-frontal cortex slows down, but in insomniacs it speeds up. Cooling it with water appears to allow it to switch off --
and a good night`s sleep.

"The primary medical treatment for insomnia has long been the prescription of hypnotics, or sleeping pills, yet only about 25 per cent of patients using these treatments are satisfied, citing concerns regarding side effects and the possibility of dependence on pill to help them sleep at night.

"There exists a large gap between what patients are looking for to help them and what is currently available," Dr Eric Nofzinger of University of Pittsburgh, who led the team,
was quoted as saying.

The study found that insomniacs put to bed with caps filled with the coolest water slept 89 per cent of the time they were in bed -- and nodded off three minutes earlier than
those who had no trouble sleeping.

Dr Nofzinger said that a large-scale trial should now be carried out to confirm the result.

Though experts said that the science was sound -- but questioned how practical and comfortable it is to turn in wearing a water-filled cap.

Dr Neil Stanley, a sleep consultant, said: "The down side is how cold is cold? Most of us don`t find it pleasurable to have a cold head -- and certainly not in bed."


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