Self-regulation techniques allow you to control your body and mind—not the other way around. When you need to sleep, your brain should relax. When you need to focus, your mind should activate.
Scientists (like us) have shown that training your physiological processes improves sleep, stress management, focus capacity, and so much more. Select a topic below to learn how these techniques can help you control your brain, control your body, and improve your life.
Years of research
Your brain should be producing relaxed brain waves when it’s time to go to bed. Neuroscience research has shown that controlled breathing exercises can help the brain enter this sleepy state. Take a look at this study review from Wyckoff, S., Ford, N.L., Waits, K. , Goulet, H. & Sherlin (2015).
Wyckoff, S., Ford, N.L., Waits, K. Goulet, H. & Sherlin, L. (2015). Sleep Better – Live Better: A White Paper on the Why, How and What of Sleep Assessment and Intervention. Unpublished Manuscript.
According to neuroscientists, specific breathing exercises increase alpha waves and decrease beta waves in areas of the brain responsible for regulating stress. Take a look at this study from SenseLabs’ Chief Science Officer, Dr. Leslie Sherlin, and Data Scientist, Dr. Sarah Wyckoff:
Sherlin, L., Gevirtz, R., Wyckoff, S. & Muench, F. (2009). Effects of respiratory sinus arrhythmia biofeedback versus passive biofeedback control. International Journal of Stress Management, 16(3): 233-248.
Sherlin, L., Muench, F., & Wyckoff, S. (2010). Respiratory sinus arrhythmia feedback in a stressed population exposed to a brief stressor demonstrated by quantitative EEG and sLORETA. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, (35), 219-228.
Research from over 100 different studies suggests that neurofeedback (a fascinating form of biofeedback) has a measureable effect on improving focus. In fact, neurofeedback is an often utilized approach for the treatment of ADHD by health care professionals. Click the link below to explore these findings:
Alhambra, M. A., Fowler, T. P., & Alhambra, A. A. (1995). EEG biofeedback: A new treatment option for ADD/ADHD. Journal of Neurotherapy, 1(2), 39–43.
Arns, M. (2012). EEG-based personalized medicine in ADHD: Individual alpha peak frequency as an endophenotype associated with nonresponse. Journal of Neurotherapy.
Arns, M, de Ridder, S, Strehl, U, Breteler, M, & Coenen, A. (2009). Efcacy of neurofeedback treatment in ADHD: The efects on inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity: A meta-analysis. Clinical EEG and Neuroscience, 40(3) 180–189.
Barabasz, A., & Barabasz, M. (1996). Neurotherapy and alert hypnosis in the treatment of attention deficit disorder. Chapter in S. J. Lynn, I. Kirsch, & J. W. Rhue (Eds.), Casebook of Clinical Hypnosis. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association Press, 271– 292.
Barabasz, A., & Barabasz, M. (2000). Treating AD/HD with hypnosis and neurotherapy. Child Study Journal, 30(1), 25–42.
Beauregard, M., & Levesque, J. (2006). Functional magnetic resonance imaging investigation of the efects of neurofeedback training on the neural bases of selective attention and response inhibition in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Applied Psychophysiology & Biofeedback, 31(1), 3–20.
Becerra J, Fernndez T, Harmony T, Caballero MI, Garcia F, FernandezBouzas A, Santiago-Rodriguez E, Prado-Alcalá RA. (2006) “Followup study of Learning Disabled children treated with Neurofeedback or placebo.” Clinical EEG & Neuroscience, 37 (3), 198–203.
Boyd, W. D., & Campbell, S. E. (1998). EEG biofeedback in the schools: The use of EEG biofeedback to treat ADHD in a school setting. Journal of Neurotherapy, 2(4), 65–71.
Breteler, M. H. M., Arns, M., Peters, S., Giepmans, I., & Verhoeven, L. (2010). Improvements in spelling after QEEG-based neurofeedback in dyslexia: A randomized controlled treatment study. Applied Psychophysiology & Biofeedback, 35(1), 5–11.
Breteler, R., Pesch, W., Nadorp, M. (2012) Neurofeedback in residential children and adolescents with mild mental retardation and ADHD behavior. Journal of Neurotherapy.
Carmody, D. P., Radvanski, D. C., Wadhwani, S., Sabo, J. J., & Vergara, L. (2001). EEG biofeedback training and attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder in an elementary school setting. Journal of Neurotherapy, 4(3), 5–27.
Carter, J. L., & Russell, H. L. (1991). Changes in verbal performance IQ discrepancy scores after left hemisphere frequency control training: A pilot report. American Journal of Clinical Biofeedback, 4(1), 66–67
Cunningham, M., & Murphy, P. (1981). The efects of bilateral EEG biofeedback on verbal, visuospatial and creative skills in LD male adolescents. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 14(4), 204–208.
Drechsler R, Straub M, Doehnert M, Heinrich H, Steinhausen H, Brandeis D. (2007). Controlled evaluation of a neurofeedback training of slow cortical potentials in children with ADHD. Behavioral & Brain Functions, 3, 35.
Dupuy, E. F., & Clarke, A.(2012). EEG activity in females with attentiondeficit/ hyperactivity disorder.
Egner, T., & Gruzelier, J. H. (2001). Learned self-regulation of EEG frequency Components afects attention and event-related brain potentials in humans. NeuroReport, 12, 4155–4159.
Egner, T., & Gruzelier, J. H. (2004). EEG biofeedback of low beta band components: Frequency-specific efects on variables of attention and event-related brain potentials. Clinical Neurophysiology, 115, 131–139.
Fehmi, L. G. (2007). Multichannel EEG phase synchrony training and verbally guided attention training for disorders of attention. Chapter in J. R. Evans (Ed.), Handbook of Neurofeedback. Binghampton, NY: Haworth Medical Press, 301–319.
Fehmi, L. G. (1978). EEG biofeedback, multichannel synchrony training, and attention. Chapter in A. A. Sugarman & R. E. Tarter (Eds.), Expanding Dimensions of Consciousness. New York: Springer. 4
Fehmi, L. G., & Selzer, F. A. (1980). Biofeedback and attention training. Chapter in S. Boorstein (Ed.), Transpersonal Psychotherapy. Palo Alto: Science and Behavior Books.
Fernandez, T., Herrera, W., Harmony, T., Diaz-Comas, L., Santiago, E., Sanchez, L., Bosch, J., Fernandez-Bouzas, A., Otero, G., RicardoGarcell, J., Barraza, C., Aubert, E., Galan, L., & Valdes, P. (2003). EEG and behavioral changes following neurofeedback treatment in learning disabled children. Clinical Electroencephalography, 34(3), 145–150.
Fleischman, M. J., & Othmer, S. (2005). Case study: Improvements in IQ score and maintenance of gains following EEG biofeedback with mildly developmentally delayed twins. Journal of Neurotherapy, 9(4), 35–46.
Foks, M. (2005). Neurofeedback training as an educational intervention in a school setting: How the regulation of arousal states can lead to improved attention and behaviour in children with special needs. Educational & Child Psychology, 22(3), 6777.
Fox, D. J., Tharp, D. F., & Fox, L. C. (2005). Neurofeedback: An alternative and efcacious treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Applied Psychophysiology & Biofeedback, 30(4), 365–274.
Fritson, K. K., Wadkins, T. A., Gerdes, P., & Hof, D. (2007). The impact of neurotherapy on college students’ cognitive abilities and emotions. Journal of Neurotherapy, 11(4), 1–9.
Fuchs, T., Birbaumer, N., Lutzenberger, W., Gruzelier, J. H., & Kaiser, J. (2003). Neurofeedback treatment for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children: A comparison with methylphenidate. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, 28, 112.
Gani C., Birbaumer N. & Strehl U.(2008). Long term efects after feedback of slow cortical potentials and of theta-beta amplitudes in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder(ADHD). International Journal of Bioelectromagnetism, 10(4), 209–232.
Gross, E., El-Baz-Ayman A, S., Sokhadze, G, E. (2012). Induced EEG gamma oscillation alignment improves diferentiation between autism and ADHD group responses in a facial categorization task. Journal of Neurotherapy.
Hansen, L. M., Trudeau, D., & Grace, L. (1996). Neurotherapy and drug therapy in combination for adult ADHD, personality disorder, and seizure. Journal of Neurotherapy, 2(1), 6–14.
Hirshberg, L. M. (2007). Place of electroencephalographic biofeedback for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, 7(4), 315–319.
Hong, C., Lee, I. (2012). Efects of neurofeedback training on attention in children with intellectual disability. Journal of Neurotherapy
Jackson, G. M., & Eberly, D. A. (1982). Facilitation of performance on an arithmetic task as a result of the application of a biofeedback procedure to suppress alpha wave activity. Biofeedback & SelfRegulation, 7(2), 211–221.
Jacobs, E. H. (2005). Neurofeedback treatment of two children with learning, attention, mood, social, and developmental deficits. Journal of Neurotherapy, 9(4), 55–70.
Kaiser, D. A., & Othmer, S. (2000). Efect of Neurofeedback on variables of attention in a large multi-center trial. Journal of Neurotherapy, 4(1), 5–15.
Kirk, L. (2007). Neurofeedback protocols for subtypes of attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder. Chapter in J. R. Evans (Ed.), Handbook of Neurofeedback. Binghampton, NY: Haworth Medical Press, 267– 299.
Kotwal, D. B., Burns, W. J., & Montgomery, D. D. (1996). Computerassisted cognitive training for ADHD: A case study. Behavior Modification, 20(1), 85–96.
Kropotov, J. D., Grin-Yatsenko, V. A., Ponomarev, V. A., Chutko, L. S., Yakovenko, E. A., & Nikishena, I. S. (2007). Changes in EEG spectograms, event-related potentials and event-related desynchronization induced by relative beta training in ADHD children. Journal of Neurotherapy, 11(2), 3–11.
Kropotov, J. D., Grin-Yatsenko, V. A., Ponomarev, V. A., Chutko, L. S., Yakovenko, E. A., Nildshena, I. S. (2005). ERPs correlates of EEG relative beta training in ADHD children. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 55(1), 23–34.
Kwon, H., Cho, J., Lee, E. (2009). EEG asymmetry analysis of the left and right brain activities during simple versus complex arithmetic learning. Journal of Neurotherapy, 13(2), 109–116.
Leins, U., Goth, G., Hinterberger, T., Klinger, C., Rumpf, N., & Strehl, U. (2007). Neurofeedback for children with ADHD: A comparison of SCP and theta/beta protocols. Applied Psychophysiology & Biofeedback, 32(2), 73–88.
Levesque, J., Beauregard, M., & Mensour, B. (2006). Efect of neurofeedback training on the neural substrates of selective attention in children with attention–deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a functional magnetic resonance imaging study. Neuroscience Letters, 394(3), 216–221.
Linden, M., Habib, T., & Radojevic, V. (1996). A controlled study of the efects of EEG biofeedback on cognition and behavior of children with attention deficit disorder and learning disabilities. Biofeedback & Self-Regulation, 21(1), 35–49.
Loo, S., & Barkley, R. (2005). Clinical utility of EEG in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Applied Neuropsychology, 12(2), 64–76.
Lubar, J. F. (1985). EEG biofeedback and learning disabilities. Theory into Practice, 26, 106–111
Lubar, J. F. (1995). Neurofeedback for the management of attentiondeficit/hyperactivity disorders. Chapter in M. S. Schwartz (Ed.), Biofeedback: A Practitioner’s Guide. New York, Guilford, 493–522.
Lubar, J. F. (2003). Neurofeedback for the management of attentiondeficit / hyperactivity disorders. Chapter in M. S. Schwartz & F. Andrasik (Eds.), Biofeedback: A Practitioner’s Guide (Third Edition New York, Guilford), 409–437.
Lubar, J. O., & Lubar, J. F. (1984). Electroencephalographic biofeedback of SMR and beta for treatment of attention deficit disorders in a clinical setting. Biofeedback & Self-Regulation, 9, 1–23.
Lubar, J. F., & Shouse, M. N. (1976). EEG and behavioral changes in a hyperactive child concurrent with training of the sensorimotor rhythm (SMR): A preliminary report. Biofeedback & Self-Regulation, 1(3), 293–306.
Lubar, J. F., & Shouse, M. N. (1977). Use of biofeedback in the treatment of seizure disorders and hyperactivity. Advances in Clinical Child Psychology, 1, 204–251.
Lubar, J. F., Swartwood, M. O., Swartwood, J. N., & O’Donnell, P. H. (1995). Evaluation of the efectiveness of EEG neurofeedback training for ADHD in a clinical setting as measured by changes in T.O.V.A., scores, behavioral ratings, and WISC-R performance. Biofeedback & Self-Regulation, 20(1), 83–99.
Lutzenberger W, Elbert T, Rockstroh B, Birbaumer N. (1982) Biofeedback produced slow brain potentials and task performance. Biological Psychology, 14, 99–111.
Mayer, K., Wyckof, S. N. (2012). Neurofeedback for adult attentiondeficit/hyperactivity disorder: Investigation of slow cortical potential neurofeedback-Preliminary results. Journal of Neurotherapy
McKnight, J. T., & Fehmi, L. G. (2001). Attention and neurofeedback synchrony training: Clinical results and their significance. Journal of Neurotherapy, 5(1–2), 45–62.
Monastra, V. J., (2005). Electroencephalographic biofeedback (neurotherapy) as a treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: Rationale and empirical foundation. Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 14(1), 55–82.
Monastra, V. J., Lynn, S., Linden, M., Lubar, J. F., Gruzelier, J., & LaVaque, T. J. (2005). Electroencephalographic biofeedback in the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Applied Psychophysiology & Biofeedback, 30(2), 95–114.
Monastra, V. J., Monastra, D. M., & George, S. (2002). The efects of stimulant therapy, EEG biofeedback, and parenting style on the primary symptoms of attentiondeficit/hyperactivity disorder. Applied Psychophysiology & Biofeedback, 27(4), 231–249.
Mulholland, T. Goodman, D., & Boudrot, R. (1983). Attention and regulation of EEG alpha-attenuation responses. Biofeedback & SelfRegulation, 8(4), 585–600.
Nash, J. K. (2000). Treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder with neurotherapy. Clinical Electroencephalography, 31(1), 30–37.
Norris, S. L., Lee, C-T., Burshteyn, D., & Cea-Aravena, J. (2001). The efects of performance enhancement training on hypertension, human attention, stress, and brain wave patterns: A case study. Journal of Neurotherapy, 4(3), 29–44.
Norris, S. L., Lee, C., Cea, J., & Burshteyn, D. (1998). Performance enhancement training efects on attention: A case study. Journal of Neurotherapy, 3(1), 19–25.
Orlando, P. C., & Rivera, R. O. (2004). Neurofeedback for elementary students with identified learning problems. Journal of Neurotherapy, 8(2), 5–19.
Othmer, S., Othmer, S. F., & Kaiser, D. A. (1999). EEG biofeedback: Training for AD/HD and related disruptive behavior disorders. Chapter in J. A. Incorvaia & B. F. Mark-Goldstein, & D. Tessmer (Eds.), Understanding, Diagnosing, & Treating AD/HD in Children and Adolescents. New York: Aronson, 235–297
Patrick, G. J. (1996). Improved neuronal regulation in ADHD: An application of 15 sessions of photic-driven EEG neurotherapy. Journal of Neurotherapy, 1(4), 27–36.
Perreau-Linck, E., Lessard, N., Lévesque, J., Beauregard, M. (2010). Efects of neurofeedback training on inhibitory capacities in ADHD children: A single-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Journal of Neurotherapy, 14(3), 229–242.
Pigott, E. H., Bodenhamer-Davis, E., Davis, E. (2013). Ending the evidentiary & insurance reimbursement bias against neurofeedback to treat ADHD: It will take clinician action in addition to the compelling science. Journal of Neurotherapy
Pratt, R. R., Abel, H., & Skidmore, J. (1995). The efects of neurofeedback training with background music on EEG patterns of ADD and ADHD children. International Journal of Arts Medicine, 4(1), 24–31.
Pulvermuller, F., Mohr, B., Schleichert, H., & Veit, R. (2000). Operant conditioning of left-hemispheric slow cortical potentials and its efect on word processing. Biological Psychology, 53, 177–215.
Putnam, J. A., Othmer, S. F., Othmer, S., & Pollock, V. E. (2005). TOVA results following interhemispheric bipolar EEG training. Journal of Neurotherapy, 9(1), 37–52.
Rasey, H. W., Lubar, J. E., McIntyre, A., Zofuto, A. C., & Abbott, P. L. (1996). EEG biofeedback for the enhancement of attentional processing in normal college students. Journal of Neurotherapy, 1(3), 15–21.
Rockstroh, B., Elbert, T., Lutzenberger, W., & Birbaumer, N. (1990). Biofeedback: Evaluation and therapy in children with attentional dysfunction. Chapter in A. Rothenberger (Ed.), Brain and Behaviour in Child Psychiatry. Berlin: Springer Verlag, 345–357.
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Rossiter, T. (2002). Neurofeedback for AD/HD: A ratio feedback case study. Journal of Neurotherapy, 6(3), 9–35.
Rossiter, T. R. (1998). Patient directed neurofeedback for ADHD. Journal of Neurotherapy, 2(4), 54–63.
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Scheinbaum, S., Zecker, S., Newton, C. J., & Rosenfeld, P. (1995 ). A controlled study of EEG biofeedback as a treatment for attentiondeficit disorders. In Proceedings of the 26th Annual Meeting of the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, 131– 134.
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Stankus, T. (2008). Can the brain be trained? Comparing the literature on the use of EEG biofeedback/neurofeedback as an alternative or complementary therapy for attention deficit disorder (ADHD). Behavioral & Social Sciences Librarian, 26(4), 20–56.
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Thornton, K. E., & Carmody, D. P. (2005). Electroencephalogram biofeedback for reading disability and traumatic brain injury. Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 14(1), 137–162.
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Cognitive training is designed to improve skills like working memory, attention and impulse control. Research has shown that these skills can be effectively exercised through repetition. Take a look at these studies on the efficacy of cognitive training:
Jaeggi, S. M., Buschkuehl, M., Jonides, J., & Perrig, W. J. (2008). Improving fluid intelligence with training on working memory. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105(19), 6829–6833. http://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0801268105
Anguera, J. A., Boccanfuso, J., Rintoul, J. L., Al-Hashimi, O., Faraji, F., Janowich, J., … Gazzaley, A. (2013). Video game training enhances cognitive control in older adults. _Nature_ doi: 501.7465 (2013): 97-101.