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Cure insomnia by depriving yourself of sleep

There's an interesting article over on ABC news that starts out talking about a traditional session of cognitive behavioral therapy and how it helped one insomnia sufferer. What was more interesting (to me at least) was the latter half of the article that outlined a more radical treatment.

Dr Leon Lack of Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, tries to 'reboot' the brains of insomnia sufferers. He believes that the main problem insomniacs face is not feeling sleepy - yes, we feel exhausted and fatigued, but he argues that we rarely feel sleepy.

Therefore, Dr Lack works to change this by depriving his patients of sleep over a 24 hour period. Whenever a patient falls asleep, after five minutes he'll wake them up - this prevents them from entering a deep sleep and builds up sleep pressure.

By depriving his patients of sleep, Dr Lack believes that the brain will no longer enter an alert stage when getting into into bed - instead, the brain is conditioned to fall asleep when allowed to do so.

Participants in his study claimed that the therapy halved the amount of time it normally takes them to fall asleep - from one hour to half an hour.

This sounds like a similar concept to sleep restriction therapy.

Source: ABC News

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Last updated: February 16, 2013

This Article Was Written By

Martin Reed

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