Home Sleep Health What is Paradoxical Intention and can it treat insomnia?

4 min.

26 August 2022

What is Paradoxical Intention and can it treat insomnia?

#paradoxical intention #paradoxical intention insomnia #sleep health #insomnia

Insomnia is fairly common in the UK and can affect anyone at any age. There are several treatments for insomnia that you can try out. However, there’s been a trend in a type of insomnia treatment called Paradoxical Intention that is recently increasing in popularity.

The latest trend in insomnia treatments comes in the form of Paradoxical Intention. A news article by The Express talks about how this technique could help to combat insomnia - “Fortunately, there are ways to overcome this, and Doctor Karan Raj took to TikTok to share a trusted hack. The method, known as paradoxical intention, is a cognitive technique that involves persuading oneself to engage with a feared behaviour.” 

Paradoxical Intention involves telling yourself the opposite of what you actually intend to do. For example, when you’re trying to sleep, lying awake and telling yourself not to sleep. Your brain will supposedly do the opposite of what you tell it to do, hence the term ‘paradoxical.

A sleep scientist in the same study, Doctor Katharine Lederle, states, “In Paradoxical Intention, you set out to do - or wish for - the thing you’re trying to avoid, thereby breaking the fear cycle. So, by doing this feared or disliked behaviour, you eventually reduce the anxiety around it,” breaking the vicious cycle between anxiety and insomnia. 

Sleep Restriction Therapy

Paradoxical Intention and sleep restriction are pretty similar practices, however, sleep restriction therapy is thought to be more effective. According to a study by Stanford Medicine, “sleep restriction is designed to eliminate prolonged middle of the night awakenings. It doesn't aim to restrict actual sleep time, but rather to initially restrict the time spent in bed.” The steps of this include slowly increasing the duration of staying in bed, in order to eventually increase sleep duration. 

Sleep restriction often takes several weeks and is a slow process. It can deter people from choosing this particular method, as they may be looking for quicker results.

Other ways to treat insomnia 

Based on research, there are numerous other methods you can try to combat your insomnia, all with varying degrees of success and effectiveness. If Paradoxical Intention is not effective for you, you could try these other methods. According to the National Library of Medicine, these methods include:

Relaxation therapy

This is especially effective for people who define their insomnia through being unable to relax or wind down before bed. The National Library of Medicine (NLM) states that, “Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR), autogenic training, and biofeedback are aimed at reducing somatic arousal (e.g. muscle tension),” and are examples of sleep relaxation methods that are undertaken to improve sleep.

Stimulus control

This involves not partaking in stimulating activities while in bed, and keeping your bedroom or bed strictly for sleep. This can help to promote a healthy sleep-wake cycle. The NLM says, “The stimulus control instructions decrease the bed and bedroom as cues for arousal and re-establish the bed and bedroom as strong cues for sleep. They additionally promote a more regular circadian sleep–wake cycle.”

There are natural ways to help your body associate bedtime with sleeping, and eventually help to reduce insomnia. Introducing new, science-backed sleep products, restricting bedroom activities to just sleeping, and learning about insomnia and its causes may be beneficial in the long run. Sleep health and wellness is important, so carrying out daily practices can mean the difference between a bad and a good night’s sleep.

Mental exercises

Fitting with Paradoxical Intention, doing mental exercises and meditation to calm your mind before sleep can be effective. Meditation can be useful to help numerous things, not just sleep. It can be effective in inducing sleep and promoting a more restful sleep and relaxed mind, which can help with anxiety. 

Wind down

Excessive screen usage can be the reason when it comes to lack of sleep. There should be a period before sleep where you wind down, which involves turning off screens and perhaps reading instead. This can help relax your body and reduce eye strain. 

Association 

As previously discussed, it’s important to keep your bedroom for just sleeping. Additionally, you should reduce the amount of stimulating activities you do in your bedroom. This can help your body become tired easier, as heading to bed is a signal that you intend to sleep.

Is Paradoxical Intention the answer?

If none of the other insomnia remedies listed in this article or elsewhere on the internet work for you, Paradoxical Intention may be the answer. It can also be the case that you’ve been trawling through the internet trying to find an effective method of treating your insomnia. In this case, you can speak to your GP about Paradoxical Intention, to determine whether or not it’s worth trying out for a couple of weeks or more. 

More from Sunrise by Emma

At Sunrise by Emma, we have you covered with our extensive range of sleep products. They are created to promote sleep health and wellness. Moreover, they might be a lovely addition to your bedroom to help create an ambience in your space. Also check out our about us page for more general information about our website.

You can also go on over to Emma UK to purchase pillows and mattresses that will guarantee an incredible night's sleep every time you rest.

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Insomnia: What You Need to Know

Everyone knows that sleep is an essential part of everyday life. When the day ends, the natural course of action is to wind down and finally go to bed. However, given the hectic schedules that most people have, it’s often difficult to go to sleep quickly or fall asleep at all. In the worst-case scenario, people get two hours’ worth of shut-eye and start the day feeling lousy and haggard.  The awful feeling that comes with the lack of sleep is because the body needs seven to eight hours worth of rest to repair itself and support various functions, such as its immunity or muscle repair. While some have no problem falling asleep as soon as they go to bed, others have a hard time learning how to get to sleep quickly due to insomnia. Here’s what you need to know about it: 

Insomnia: What You Need to Know

Everyone knows that sleep is an essential part of everyday life. When the day ends, the natural course of action is to wind down and finally go to bed. However, given the hectic schedules that most people have, it’s often difficult to go to sleep quickly or fall asleep at all. In the worst-case scenario, people get two hours’ worth of shut-eye and start the day feeling lousy and haggard.  The awful feeling that comes with the lack of sleep is because the body needs seven to eight hours worth of rest to repair itself and support various functions, such as its immunity or muscle repair. While some have no problem falling asleep as soon as they go to bed, others have a hard time learning how to get to sleep quickly due to insomnia. Here’s what you need to know about it: 

The Physical Impact of Lack of Sleep

Lack of sleep and physical health have complex interconnections - whilst some people might need 6 hours of sleep to function normally, others may need far more. When you get less sleep than your body is used to or requires, then even an hour out of your regular sleep cycle can affect your routine. This guide aims to explore and explain recent data and studies supporting the physical effects of lack of sleep.  

The Physical Impact of Lack of Sleep

Lack of sleep and physical health have complex interconnections - whilst some people might need 6 hours of sleep to function normally, others may need far more. When you get less sleep than your body is used to or requires, then even an hour out of your regular sleep cycle can affect your routine. This guide aims to explore and explain recent data and studies supporting the physical effects of lack of sleep.  

How are sleep disorders diagnosed?

People with sleep disorders may have difficulty going to sleep and may feel exceedingly lethargic during the day, depending on the type of disorder. Sleep deprivation can affect your energy, mood, focus, and overall health. Sleep disorders can sometimes be an indication or symptom of another medical or mental health concern. Once the underlying cause is identified and treated, the sleeping issues may go away. If you feel you have a sleep disordercondition, it's critical to get a diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible. The negative effects of sleep disturbances might lead to further negative health implications if they are not managed.

How are sleep disorders diagnosed?

People with sleep disorders may have difficulty going to sleep and may feel exceedingly lethargic during the day, depending on the type of disorder. Sleep deprivation can affect your energy, mood, focus, and overall health. Sleep disorders can sometimes be an indication or symptom of another medical or mental health concern. Once the underlying cause is identified and treated, the sleeping issues may go away. If you feel you have a sleep disordercondition, it's critical to get a diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible. The negative effects of sleep disturbances might lead to further negative health implications if they are not managed.

4 Types Of Insomnia

You likely already know that sleep is essential for overall health and well-being. When the day ends, the natural course of action is to wind down and go to bed. While some have no problem falling asleep or staying asleep, others have a hard time due to a sleep disorder known as insomnia.   Insomnia is defined as the persistent difficulty to fall asleep or stay asleep despite having ample time and opportunity to do so. As a result, insomniacs may experience excessive daytime sleepiness, mental and cognitive dysfunction, impaired work performance, and health problems (i.e., diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, heart and lung diseases) among others.  Not all cases of insomnia are the same. This sleep disorder affects people in different ways, and distinguishing the difference between the forms of the condition can be a key in identifying the proper treatment. Here’s what you need to know about the different types of insomnia. 

4 Types Of Insomnia

You likely already know that sleep is essential for overall health and well-being. When the day ends, the natural course of action is to wind down and go to bed. While some have no problem falling asleep or staying asleep, others have a hard time due to a sleep disorder known as insomnia.   Insomnia is defined as the persistent difficulty to fall asleep or stay asleep despite having ample time and opportunity to do so. As a result, insomniacs may experience excessive daytime sleepiness, mental and cognitive dysfunction, impaired work performance, and health problems (i.e., diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, heart and lung diseases) among others.  Not all cases of insomnia are the same. This sleep disorder affects people in different ways, and distinguishing the difference between the forms of the condition can be a key in identifying the proper treatment. Here’s what you need to know about the different types of insomnia.