Wednesday, January 7, 2009

To Go to Sleep, Try to Stay Awake

Sometimes insomnia is a matter of willpower. Where there is a will, there is no way. You may be unable to fall asleep because you try too hard.

This is a type of sleep-onset insomnia. Sometimes it is called sleep initiation insomnia. Once you are asleep, you’re fine. The problem is getting to sleep.

The solution may be to shift your focus in the opposite direction. Don’t try to go to sleep. Instead, try to stay awake.

This method is called "paradoxical intention." It’s a form of cognitive behavioral therapy.

It involves a passive effort to stay awake. The key here is the word "passive." This means you don’t slap yourself in the face or pinch your skin to remain alert. You simply relax and try to stay awake.

The goal is to eliminate performance anxiety that develops when you try to fall asleep. Changing your focus should help you relax. As a result you should be able to fall asleep without even trying.

You can learn this and other methods from a behavioral sleep medicine specialist. Contact an AASM-accredited sleep center to find a certified BSM specialist near you.

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