Scientists reveal the simple trick to cure insomnia

Acute insomnia affects up to 50 per cent of us at any point in time, and it can be highly

Acute insomnia affects up to 50 per cent of us at any point in time, and it can be highly frustrating and upsetting. You just want to go to sleep but can’t!

It seems the solution is actually quite easy, and just requires a change in sleep behaviour.

New research from a Penn Medicine study presented at SLEEP 2016, the 30th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC, defined acute insomnia as difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, three or more nights per week, for between two weeks and three months.

The study found 70 to 80 per cent of people with acute insomnia could get rid of it by getting out of bed. Yep!

Researchers say electing to stay awake (rather than staying in bed trying to sleep when you can’t) is a productive strategy for an individual with acute insomnia. It is also formally deployed as part of cognitive behavioural therapy for chronic insomnia.

News-Medical reports last month, the American College of Physicians recommended Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) as the treatment for chronic insomnia, without the side effects associated with sleep drugs.

In the study, 416 individuals were evaluated for how their time in bed affects their sleep. The results from these preliminary data analyses show that 20 percent of the population of good sleepers experience acute insomnia per year, 45 percent of these individuals recover, 48 percent have persistent but periodic insomnia, and 7 percent develop chronic insomnia.

“Those with insomnia typically extend their sleep opportunity,” says Michael Perlis, PhD, an associate professor in Psychiatry and director of the Penn Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program. “They go to bed early, get out of bed late, and they nap. While this seems a reasonable thing to do, and may well be in the short term, the problem in the longer term is it creates a mismatch between the individual’s current sleep ability and their current sleep opportunity; this fuels insomnia”.

Tell us, do you suffer from insomnia? How long for and what works for you?


  1. veronica cheeseman  

    I relax and take deep breaths. 4 in 4 hold and 4 out….it works for me

  2. veronica cheeseman  

    I relax and take deep breaths. 4 in 4 hold and 4 out….it works for me

  3. I have a Louse Hay relaxation CD, which I play when I have trouble getting to sleep, as I have too much on my mind. Have a player by my bed, turn it on, take a few deep breaths in – hold – whoosh out thru mouth. Relax and listen. Never hear the end. Wonderful.

  4. Susan Gabriel.  

    I get up, go to the loo, even (if I don’t feel a need to), return, drink a half tumbler of water, place a grain of sea salt under my tongue, snuggle down in bed, start saying my prayers asking for members of my family, my animals and friends to be cared for, naming each one but invariably I fall asleep before I’ve got to the list of friends, sorry friends but i sometimes do and if I get to the end without sleeping then I read a newspaper article, after a while my eyes grow tired and i switch off the light and fall asleep reflecting on the article..

  5. Chronic insomnia zombified me for years, laying there awake worrying about this, worrying about that… until I rescued a kitten from a shelter — someone deserving to be lovee who loves me back unconditionally. I keep her nails clipped (see online for instructions), so that even when she stomps all over me in bed with her great big clod-hopping paws while I’m settling down to sleep, it’s more like a gentle massage than anything. I go out like a light now, and haven’t slept so well in years!

    • Lisa Guthrie  

      I’m guilty of going to bed early, sleeping too late and trying to nap. I had insomnia so bad I ended up in the ER for sleep deprivation. I couldn’t talk because I was having muscle spasms in my jaw, tongue and vocal cords. I was also having auditory hallucinations. The meds I was put on in the hospital made me so disoriented I couldn’t even fold a sheet…I’m serious, I tried several times. Instead of going to my GP for insomnia, I went to a neurologist. Together we found a combination of meds that work for me to get and keep me asleep without causing drowsiness throughout the day. I also discovered that I have a sleep disorder called REM Sleep Disorder. Which means I have either very stressful dreams or nightmares in which I act out both verbally and physically while I should be in the REM Sleep paralysis phase. This prevented me from having a restful restorative nights sleep. My neurologist and I have this under control as well.

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