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Success with relaxation/meditation for insomnia

Discussion in 'Sleep' started by Sasha, Feb 4, 2011.

  1. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

    I've been on Pregabalin (Lyrica) for my multifaceted insomnia (difficulty getting to sleep, multiple wakings, early waking) for over a year and had found it helpful. However, following a severe viral illness (flu?) I found it was taking several hours to get to sleep and when it didn't wear off after a month, asked my GP if I needed extra/different sleep meds.

    He prescribed a 21 day course of melatonin, which got me to sleep but left me stunned and exhausted the next day; and then doxepin, ditto. The disabling fatigue was too much so I went back to just Pregablin but have started (at his suggestion) consciously doing a relaxation exercise when I go to bed. It has been tremendously successful - I'm getting to sleep within 15 minutes, am sleeping solidly through the night (used to be up at least once) and am waking naturally - and refreshed! - after about 8 hours.

    I use either a mindfulness meditation where you concentrate on the breath, or a body scan meditation in which you use the breath to concentrate on and relax different parts of your body. Lots of info on the net about how to do them. People are supposed to use meditation to "fall awake" not fall asleep but I take the help where I can get it!

    There is no religious component - these exercises just consist of concentrating on the breath/body and if your mind wanders, bringing it back. I daresay other types of relaxation exercises would also work well but I like these because they're about calming the mind, not just the body.

    I'm really surprised and pleased at how effective this has been. Meditation takes a while to learn - at first it made me really angry and frustrated - but having read about it, I realised that everyone has intruding thoughts and part of the skill to be learned is that you have to be patient and forgiving of yourself! :Retro smile:

    I went on an online meditation course with Wildmind a while back which was very good - now I'm reading "Full Catastrophe Living" by Jon Kabat-Zinn which is an 8-week meditation programme for the chronically, seriously sick and using his CDs (this one is for the course). I recommend them very highly (see the links in my signature below if you're thinking of buying from Amazon!).
  2. justy

    justy Donate Advocate Demonstrate

    Hi Sasha, i am so glad to hear that the relaxation/meditation is helping with your sleep. So far, apart from a coupleof supplements, learning to meditate was the best thing i have done for my health. I de3cided to learn a year and a half ago, after i had a severe reaction to an SSRI and was left with disabling anxiety.
    I got a good book from Amazon and taught myself, it took a bit of practice but i soon got into it. It has helped a lot with my sleep, also with anxiety and that horrible wired feeling. I only practice now for 15- 20 mins a day, and sometimes at night if i cant sleep.
    I agree that the body scan meditations are great for getting off to sleep, and now if i do wake up in the night i just start to focus on my breath and am soon asleep again.

    I keep meaning to read "full catastrophe living" but havent got round to it yet, lots of people have recommende it to me though so i must get hold of a copy.

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