Does flotation-rest (restricted environmental stimulation technique) have an effect on sleep?

Anette Kjellgren, Annika Norell-Clarke, Kristoffer Jonsson, Maria Tillfors

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikelPeer review

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Introduction: Some therapies described within alternative and complementary medicine are advertised as sleep-promoting, including flotation-REST (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique). Flotation-REST induces deep relaxation through sensory isolation in a water-filled tank and is plausibly reported to mitigate insomnia problems, which have consistently been associated with stress, worry and arousal. However, the effects of flotation-REST have not been previously summarised. The aim of this systematic review was to investigate the efficacy of flotation-REST on sleep in clinical and non-clinical samples. Methods: A systematic search for studies on flotation-REST, involving at least one sleep-related variable, was conducted in the databases PubMed, Google Scholar, Web of Science and PsychINFO. Thirteen full-text articles met the inclusion criteria and were considered for eligibility. Nine were included in the current review. The methodological quality of the studies was assessed using a structured checklist, and a standard data extraction sheet was used to summarize the ratings. Results: In all included studies, flotation-REST demonstrated beneficial effects on sleep, both in clinical and nonclinical samples. In two studies, the effects were maintained 4 or 6 months post-treatment. The quality of the sleep outcome measures were, however, low in most studies, particularly regarding the participants' nightly sleep habits, self-reported sleep problems and insomnia diagnosis. Conclusions: Flotation-REST may be a promising treatment for insomnia symptoms, but more controlled studies with established sleep measures, and on populations with clinically verified insomnia, are needed.

OriginalspråkEngelska
TidskriftEuropean Journal of Integrative Medicine
Volym33
DOI
StatusPublicerad - 2020

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