What Are Sleep Disorders?
Sleep disorders (or sleep-wake disorders) involve problems with the quality, timing, and amount of sleep, which result in daytime distress and impairment in functioning. Sleep-wake disorders often occur along with medical conditions or other mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, or cognitive disorders. There are several different types of sleep-wake disorders, of which insomnia is the most common. Other sleep-wake disorders include obstructive sleep apnea, parasomnias, narcolepsy, and restless leg syndrome.
Sleep difficulties are linked to both physical and emotional problems. Sleep problems can both contribute to or exacerbate mental health conditions and can be a symptom of other mental health conditions.
Virtual Reality for Sleep-Wake Disorders
The virtual environment technology contains activation control tools that can support the intervention on sleep-related problems. These environments are designed to address satisfaction with quality and quantity of sleep.
VR Environments that help
This environment is unique in that it engages with Jacobson’s relaxation and induction techniques as the individual takes a mental journey of their body. It is especially useful for progressive muscle relaxation.
Imagery for relaxation
This environment takes the individual along a beautiful island where they can relax to the sound of the sea and the sight of a waterfall. As they walk, they can also engage in relaxation exercises.
Progressive muscle relaxation
Using tension relaxation exercises, ordered by muscle groups, this virtual environment can train the individual in the practice of progressive muscle relaxation.
Underwater in the ocean
- This environment simulates the sensation of being submerged under the sea, where the individual can experiment with different forms of relaxation.
Diaphragmatic breathing underwater in the ocean
Virtual underwater environment to train the individual on diaphragmatic breathing through an auditory guide and visual support, which give guidance on the breathing times. The environment allows the inhalation-exhalation times to be established.
Diaphragmatic breathing in a meadow
Virtual meadow environment to train the individual on diaphragmatic breathing through an auditory guide and visual support, which give guidance on the breathing times. The environment allows the inhalation-exhalation times to be established.
VR Therapy involves gradually introducing a person to the situation causing their fear and helping them adapt to it. It may involve just a few sessions of therapy, after which the end goal is the person confronting their fear.