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Thinking Yourself to Sleep

Posted Oct 15 2012 5:51pm

I was writing a post this morning about how sleep is a paradox - how wanting to get to sleep actually prevents you from sleeping, and that the exact opposite is true too (not caring about sleep helps you sleep).

Often, the first hurdle to oversome when tackling insomnia is a dependence on sleeping pills - either over-the-counter or prescription.

But there's a recent controversy about their actual effectiveness. Yes, we think  we slept better with a pill, but in fact we might not.

As outlined in this  Psychology Today article,  many of todays more powerful sleeping pills (benzodiazapines like Ativan and non-benzodiazapines like Ambiant) are now thought to induce a kind of anterograde amnesia, where you don't remember being awake, even though you were.

So your actual sleep might be the same, but your memory  of that sleep is distorted so much that you felt you slept better.

This all ties back into my initial premise:

If you think you slept well, you did.

If you think you slept poorly, you did.

So an easy route to try and sleep better is to care less about the sleep you get. The less you care, the better it will become.

Stop all the negative thinking about sleep. It's self-fulfilling... 

Doug blogs about sleep at his main blog,  


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