Insomnia

  1. A non-addictive approach to insomnia created by one of my student.
    BODY SCAN FOR SLEEP
    Begin by bringing your attention into your body, close your eyes.
    Notice your body wherever you’re lying down, feeling the weight of your body on the floor.
    Take a few deep breaths.
    And as you take a deep breath, bring in more oxygen enlivening the body. And as you exhale, have a sense of relaxing more deeply.
    You can notice your feet on the bed, notice the sensations of your feet touching the bed. The weight and pressure, vibration, heat.
    You can notice your legs against the bed, pressure, pulsing, heaviness, lightness.
    Notice your back against the bed.
    Bring your attention into your stomach area. If your stomach is tense or tight, let it soften. Take a breath.
    Notice your hands. Are your hands tense or tight. See if you can allow them to soften.
    Notice your arms. Feel any sensation in your arms. Let your shoulders be soft.
    Notice your neck and throat. Let them be soft. Relax.
    Soften your jaw. Let your face and facial muscles be soft.
    Then notice your whole body present.
    Repeat. 
    Modified from https://ggia.berkeley.edu/practice/body_scan_meditation
    (audio included in above link)

  2. I also share with my patients the perspective that insomnia is a symptom of an inability to direct attention away from thinking. The tendency to think compulsively with little control is the challenge. One solution is mindfulness training:
    1. It’s is to exercise the intention to focus attention on a sensory experience such as the breath;
    2. during this exercise, spontaneous appearance of thoughts are recognized but let go by resuming the exercise in step 1.
    One ideal time for mindfulness training is during insomnia. In letting go of the thoughts of trying to go to sleep by intentionally focusing on the present moment of each breath, the ability to choose the object of attention grows stronger. Quality sleep is just one of the many healthy consequences of mindfulness training.
    Thanks

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