U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is examining an existing biofeedback technology to help first responders work better on long, round-the-clock disaster relief efforts. According to the deputy director of DHS’s Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency, brain music therapy has been in use since the early 1990s and is currently used to treat medical conditions such as insomnia. He explains that DHS wanted to examine its use in a job-related application. Long, irregular work shifts can affect first responders’ natural sleep cycles, leading to fatigue and stress. The therapy is designed to sharpen first responders’ reactions during an emergency and to calm them afterward. According to DHS, the therapy is clinically proven to promote one of two mental states in a person: relaxation for reduced stress and improved sleep, and alertness for enhanced concentration and decision making. The brain therapy is part of DHS’s Readiness Optimization Program, an overall wellness effort combining nutrition education and neurotraining to improve the performance of first responders and federal agents.

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