Background: Sleep disorder is a common health problem in modern days. Establishment of safe, non-invasive, convenient and effective treatment is anticipated in the field of complementary and alternative medicine.
Objective: We designed a protocol for a randomized controlled trial to investigate the effect of Electric Field (EF) exposure on sleep disorder.
Methods: Nineteen college students with sleep disorder, defined as a score of 8 or higher on the Pitzburg Sleep Quality Index, were divided into two groups; EF intervention and sham treatment. EF exposure (50-Hz, 18 kV) was performed for 30 minutes a day for five consecutive days. Subjective parameters were obtained by an OSA sleep inventory MA version consisting of five factors, and objective parameters were measured using a sleep-scan.
Results: Significant improvement in scores of three factors (sleepiness on rising, refreshing and sleep length) was observed after 5 days of EF exposure intervention, as compared to both before intervention and after 5 days of sham treatment. Moreover, improvement ratios for these three factors were significantly higher in the EF group than in the sham treatment group. Analysis of the sleep-scan demonstrated a high improvement ratio for duration of nocturnal awakening in the EF group.
Conclusion: The beneficial effect of electric field therapy on sleep disorder in college students is considered to be beyond a placebo effect. This study raises the therapeutic possibility of electric field exposure.