PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) – Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University are testing a new device that could improve your quality of sleep just by wearing it.

Researchers hope this tool will boost all that good stuff that come from getting good quality, restorative sleep.

OSHU is partnering with a private lab from Eugene that makes the devices, as well as other universities to do the research. It’s part of a $4.3 million grant from the Department of Defense. It has interest in improving sleep for soldiers in the military, like those fighting in war zones.

Right now, the device is a working prototype.

OHSU tells FOX 12 you wear small electrodes on your head while sleeping. Small pulses of electricity (too light to be felt) stimulate your brain during non-REM sleep, which helps your brain do its job better and faster.

“When you’re asleep your brain is really fully synchronized,” OHSU sleep scientist Dr. Miranda Lim. “(This occurs) 100% in deep sleep and not in this lighter stage of sleep all night.”

Lim said deep sleep is associated with the brain’s natural process of eliminating toxins, something that’s critical to cognitive function. She said initial research shows the device can help you get about 10% more deep sleep during the night, something she calls a small, but significant number.

She also said this technology could be a game-changer for degenerative diseases. She’s excited to see where the research goes.

“The other major target population is this older population that’s at risk for neurodegeneration,” Lim said. “Alzheimer’s is really the biggest group. We’re also looking at people with traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s disease.

“I’m very interested to see if improving sleep at an early window there can stave off this cascade of events that leads to irreversible disease otherwise.”

The devices have, so far, been tested on 30 healthy people without cognitive or memory issues.

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