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The significance of sleep

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Everyone needs a good night’s sleep. It’s generally thought that being well-rested contributes to healthy brain function and overall physical health. Recent findings have shown that many of the beneficial effects of sleep on the restoration of brain function are thought to be mediated primarily by slow wave sleep1,2—defined as non-rapid eye movement sleep that accounts for 80% of total sleep. Additionally, slow wave sleep, or SWS, has been shown to play a pivotal role in the optimization of memory consolidation.1,2


Given the importance of SWS, various pharmacological and peripheral (electric/ magnetic/sensory) stimulation methods have been proposed to enhance slow waves. Among these, auditory stimulation has proven to be an effective strategy, as it is non-pharmacological, safe, and reliable.3,4,5 Further, waves enhanced by sound were shown to be similar to those spontaneously generated slow waves observed during natural sleep.6

How to help your chronically and mildly sleep-restricted patients get better sleep


One way to help patients to achieve better sleep and improve memory condition and learning capacity during the day is intervention with acoustic stimulation, which effectively enhances SWS. One such acoustic stimulation system reliably provides at-home auditory stimulation and enhances slow wave activity in such individuals:7


  • A randomized double-blind study (n=34) was conducted with this acoustic stimulation device at four different clinical sites in the United States. Its main focus was to quantify the enhancement of SWA.
  • This study showed—and confirmed prior published research
    that acoustic stimulation significantly enhances SWS, which mediates
    the restorative function of sleep,7 in a safe and effective manner.

    This study was sponsored by Philips Healthcare.

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For more information about the research and clinical studies behind SWS and acoustic stimulation:

Slow waves in the sleeping brain


Gary Garcia-Molinaa,b and Anandi Mahadevanc

aPhilips Research North America, Cambridge, MA, United States  - bUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, United States  - cSleep and Respiratory Care, Philips, Monroeville, PA, United States

SmartSleep: Quantifying slow wave activity enhancement


Anandi Mahadevan, Gary Garcia-Molina

Sleep and Respiratory Care, Philips, Monroeville, PA, United States

1Tononi, G. & Cirelli, C. (2006). Sleep function and synaptic homeostasis. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 49–62.

2Tononi, G. & Cirelli, C. (2014). Sleep and the price of plasticity: from synaptic and cellular homeostasis to memory consolidation and integration. Neuron, 12–34.

3Bellesi, M., Riedner, B., Garcia-Molina, G., Cirelli, C. & Tononi, G. (2014). Enhancement of sleep slow waves: underlying mechanisms and practical consequences. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, 8:1–17.

4Papalambros, N., Santostasi, G., Malkani, R., Braun, R., Weintraub, S., Paller, K. & Zee, P. (2017). Acoustic enhancement of sleep slow oscillations and concomitant memory improvement in older adults. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 1–14.

5Ngo, H.-V., Martinetz, T., Born, J., & Mölle, M. (2013). Auditory closed- loop stimulation of the sleep slow oscillation enhances memory. Neuron, 78:1–9.

6Tononi G, Riedner B, Hulse B, Ferrarelli F, Sarasso S. Enhancing sleep slow waves with natural stimuli. Medicamundi. 2010;54(2):82-88.

7SmartSleep: quantifying slow wave activity enhancement Sleep and Respiratory Care, Philips, Monroeville, PA, United States:

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