Leon Lack's incredible insomnia short-circuit program

1 Aug 2017 6:20 PMRosemary Clancy

Helping insomniacs overcome the fear of falling asleep with Leon Lack's brutal but amazing retraining program

 

The grinding tedium of insomnia means people have inadvertently practised and "got good at" associating bed and bedtime with maximum alertness and "fight or flight"activation. Every insomnia-treating psychologist will try to help insomniac patients re-train themselves to fall asleep quickly.  But this training asks that they only go to bed when they’re very sleepy and if unable to sleep get out of bed, go to another room, and only come back when very sleepy again. One, no one loves this idea, especially in winter, so few persevere with it for that reason alone. Two, people often actually panic when they get back to bed after feeling sleepy, only to find themselves completely alert due to the conditioned threat of the bed environment. And panic…isn’t conducive to sleep.

But the wonderful thing about Leon Lack’s treatment (at the Sleep Research Laboratory at Flinders University, South Australia) is that patients who were conditioned to be fearful about falling asleep once per night, get to practice falling asleep up to 50 times a night. These patients spend up to 24 hours in the Sleep clinic, deprived of any sense of the time of day; and every time they fall asleep they are woken up regularly every half hour. Sounds horrible? But the result is that they get a lot of practice at falling asleep, and end up showing themselves just how robust their sleep is, as the brain works continually to get them down the various stages of sleep. Patients need to devote four weeks for the training, but the process overturns their conditioned fears about falling asleep.  Read more on this on Catalyst's website at www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/s849417.htm

 

 


 

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