Cure your Insomnia by Embracing it, not Fighting it

An interesting new method for curing insomnia is actually based on methods that are as old as the hills.

Dr Guy Meadows, of the Sleep School, discovered, after practising as a sleep research physiologist for 12 years, that the key to overcoming insomnia is acceptance. He told Sharon Walker of  the Sunday Times Style section: “The thing about sleep is that it’s a subconscious process. You can’t switch it on and off at will. But the awesome thing about humans is that we are born strugglers, we are fighters. We think ‘What can I do about this problem?’….. When the usual tricks fail, desperation sets in.” To make matters worse, perceiving insomnia as an enemy triggers the brain’s ‘fight or flight’ response, which is just the reverse of what you need when you’re trying to drop off to sleep.

He now uses mindfulness and Acceptance and commitment Therapy to treat insomniacs, after realising that many of his clients reported that “they fell asleep, after struggling all night, just before they were due to get up. I’d ask them, ‘What happened at that point?’ and they would tell me they had just given up. It was only when they gave up the struggle to sleep that they could finally nod off,” he says.

Mindfullness “combines meditation, breathing techniques and paying attention to the present moment” and “helps people change the way they think, feel and act”. ( These techniques, which have been used for centuries in Buddhism and other spiritual paths, are now backed up by scientific research into their effects on the mind and body, serve to remind us that letting go of our inner demons is more powerful than resisting them.

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