Neuroflexibility and Sleep Onset Insomnia Among College Students: Implications for Neurotherapy

  • Susan P. Buckelew
  • Douglas E. DeGood
  • Jerika Taylor
  • Nikki B. Cunningham
  • Jessica Thornton
  • Angie MacKewn


This study was designed to assess a neuroflexibility model of sleep onset insomnia among college students. Neuroflexibility refers to the ability to adjust cortical activation consistent with environmental demands. It was anticipated that good sleepers would demonstrate better feedback contingent alpha control, defined as the ability to both enhance alpha and suppress alpha, than poor sleepers. Ten good and 10 poor sleepers participated in two sessions of bidirectional alpha feedback. As predicted, good sleepers demonstrated better alpha control compared to poor sleepers, although this pattern was only partially replicated in a second session. This study provides a degree of empirical support for interventions designed to enhance neuroflexibility in the treatment of some people with sleep onset insomnia.