Many research studies have analyzed the effect that whole-body vibration (WBV) has on sleep, and some have sought to use vibration to treat sleep disorders such as insomnia. It has been shown that low frequencies (f < 2Hz) are generally sleep inducing, but oscillations of this frequency are typically difficult to achieve using electromagnetic vibration drives. In the research that has been performed, optimal vibration parameters have not been determined, and the effects of multiple vibration sources vibrating at different frequencies to induce a low frequency traveling wave have not been explored. Insomnia affects millions of people worldwide, and non-pharmacological treatment options are limited. A bed excited with multiple vibration sources was used to explore beat frequency vibration as a non-pharmacological treatment for insomnia. A repeated measures design pilot study of 14 participants with mild-moderate insomnia symptom severity was conducted to determine the effects of beat frequency vibration, and traditional standing wave vibration on sleep latency and quality. Participants were monitored using high-density electroencephalography (HD-EEG). Sleep latency was compared between treatment conditions. Trends of a decrease in sleep latency due to beat frequency vibration were found (p ≤ 0.181 for AASM latency, and p ≤ 0.068 for unequivocal sleep latency). Neural complexity during wake, N1, and N2 stages were compared using Multi-Scale Sample Entropy (MSE), which demonstrated significantly lower MSE between wake and N2 stages (p ≤ 0.002). Lower MSE was found in the transition from wake to N1 stage sleep but did not reach significance (p ≤ 0.300). During N2 sleep, beat frequency vibration shows lower MSE than the control session in the left frontoparietal region. This indicates that beat frequency vibration may lead to a decrease of conscious awareness during deeper stages of sleep. Standing wave vibration caused reduced Alpha activity and increased Delta activity during wake. Beat frequency vibration caused increased Delta activity during N2 sleep. These preliminary results suggest that beat frequency vibration may help individuals with insomnia symptoms by decreasing sleep latency, by reducing their conscious awareness, and by increasing sleep drive expression during deeper stages of sleep. Standing wave vibration may be beneficial for decreasing expression of arousal and increasing expression of sleep drive during wake, implying that a dynamic vibration treatment may be beneficial. The application of vibration treatment as part of a heuristic sleep model is discussed.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





whole body vibration, beat frequency vibration, multi-scale sample entropy, EEG, scanning laser doppler vibrometer, power Spectral Density, insomnia, sleep



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Engineering Commons