Can Insomnia Be Cured? These 6 Case Studies Suggest The Answer is Yes!
We all know the benefits of getting a good night’s sleep, but for most people unfortunately it’s much easier said than done. Insomnia is a condition that affects millions of people every year. Poor quality or interrupted sleep leads to a range of issues, including daytime fatigue, brain fog, irritability, anxiousness, depression, and it even increases the risk of developing heart disease.
When you suffer from insomnia it can often feel like you are alone, and that there is no way out of the vicious cycle. But thankfully, that’s not the case.
In this article we’ve collected together a range of case studies from across the web, of real individuals who have been able to overcome their insomnia.
1. Dave Asprey – Acupuncture
If you’re into bio-hacking or upgrading your health, you may be familiar with Dave Asprey, also known as The Bulletproof Executive. He’s famous for spending over $300 000 to ’hack his own biology’, and on his blog and podcast he tries to help others do the same.
Dave investigates arrange of different topics, including nutrition, weight loss, productivity, and you guessed it – sleep.
Somewhat surprisingly, acupuncture is one of the techniques that he has explored and tested extensively. Although it sometimes has a bad reputation of being nothing more than pins and needles, it seems that it may be effective.
In Dave’s own words:
“I started using acupuncture to improve my mental performance, and found that it noticeably improved my sleep quality as well. In fact, i’m at my most productive on the days I do acupuncture, both at work and in bed when it’s time to sleep.”
There’s science to back up Dave’s story too. A 2004 study showed that in patients suffering from anxiety, regular acupuncture treatment helped to increase melatonin production and improve their total sleep time.
If you do decide to go down the acupuncture route, make sure you find a qualified practitioner, and give it several visits before you expect to see any noticeable results.
2. Darya Rose – Forming a Regular Routine
Darya Rose is the creator of the popular site Summer Tomato, which is all about teaching people to be healthy and lose weight without dieting. She also happens to be a neuroscience Ph.D, author, former dieter and proud foodist.
Darya has suffered from insomnia for the majority of her life. On her blog she explains that in high school she would average around 5 hours sleep a night, much lower than the 8-9 recommended hours. Unfortunately this isn’t something she just grew out of – her insomnia followed her into her adult life.
In her own words:
“I have trouble sleeping because I am very sensitive to light (sometimes I joke about having invisible eyelids.) I’m also very sensitive to sound and have difficulty getting comfortable. Once I’m asleep it’s also too easy to wake me up. And once I wake up, falling back asleep in less than two hours is nearly impossible. I wake up at any hint of light entering the room, or any abnormal noise.”
Darya tried a variety of pills and potions, but always to no avail. Fortunately she stumbled upon a few techniques that eventually worked, and allowed her to get her sleep count up to a good 7 hours a night.
How did she do it?
Darya used a range of techniques, but the one that she claims to be the most important is sticking to a regular sleeping schedule. Going to bed and waking at the same time (even on the weekends) allows your body to get into a natural circadian rhythm. The more consistent you are, the easier it is to get to sleep.
Other techniques that she recommends include regular exercise, reducing screen time in the evening, avoiding a heavy dinner, and cutting caffeine after lunch.
Check out her blog post for more details!
3. Kate Sztabnik- ASMR
Writer Kate Sztabnik used to finish work, flop into bed, and struggle to get to sleep as the death metal singer at the bar downstairs from her apartment “commenced his guttural screaming”.
She tried all the usual techniques in an attempt to get some shut eye – dim lights, calming hot tea, and even a noise machine that she described as sounding like “an army of jabbering crickets”.
Alas, nothing seemed to work. That was, until she did a YouTube search one evening and came across something called ASMR (which stands for autonomous sensory meridian response).
These videos (which range from someone giving you a pretend massage to combing your hair) are usually accompanied by soft, whispering voice. As strange as they sound, for some people they can be surprisingly effective with regards to relaxation and sleep.
Kate explains in her article on Oprah:
” I stumbled upon Ashlie, who softly narrated her actions as she brushed a friend’s hair. Ashlie’s video was 22 minutes long, but I was conscious for only the first two.”
ASMR may not work for everyone, but it may be worth giving a shot!
4. Lara Gardner – Eliminating Wifi and Mobile Phones
Writer Lara Gardner started to experience insomnia in the 1990’s. She explains it as:
” The sort that wakes me up at night, my little brain buzzing like an electrical transmission tower, thoughts of work, thoughts of family, song, you name it.”
In her article on the Huffington Post, Laura explained how she had tried everything over the years, including earplugs, eye masks, light-blocking window shades, meditation, prescription drugs, and even therapy. Nothing seemed to work.
She then stumbled across a an experiment where two Danish girls had planted seeds in a room with Wifi in, and another planted seeds without Wifi. The seeds in the normal room grew as expected, whereas the seeds in the Wifi room died…
This lead Lara to read into the effects of Wifi and mobile phone signals on the brain. After much investigation, she decided to remove the phone from the bedroom at night and shut off the Wifi, just to see if it would have any effect.
Immediately she began to see results. As she describes in her article:
“I’ve had a few nights where I awakened, but I fall instantly asleep without the little buzzing brain going on. No more song worms. No more spinning thoughts. No more waking so much mic kidneys thing it’s time to turn on the bladder. No more tossing and turning and finally falling asleep at dawn, only to have to rise a half an hour later exhausted and worn.”
So if you’re someone who sleeps with your mobile by your head and your Internet on, consider switching everything off when it’s time to hit the hay. Like Lara, you might see some pleasant improvements!
5. The Angry Therapist – Resetting Your Internal Clock
The Angry Therapist runs a popular YouTube channel and website all about helping others get their life on track and reach their potential.
He was suffering with insomnia for the best part of a year, and had tried everything including hypnotherapy, acupuncture, sleeping pills, and even using a sleep apnoea mask.
Eventually he decided to visit a neuro-psychiatrist who recommended that he should reset his internal clock by not sleeping for 36 hours. It seems like strange advice, but the Angry Therapist thought he’d give it a try anyway.
Although the 36 hours was a struggle, he made it through, and his sleep quality improved significantly. He was able to reset his circadian rhythm and get back to normal.
Check out his video to find out a little more about the technique.
6. Myrko Thum – Embrace Insomnia
Last but not least, blogger and writer Myrko Thum had been suffering with mild insomnia for some time. Unlike others, he was able to get to sleep fairly quickly, but often he’d wake in the night and toss and turn for hours on end.
Rather than resisting against it and looking for ways to combat insomnia, Myrko chose to work with it.
” Instead of fighting it I decided to try and work with it. I resolved to stay as calm as I could when I was unable to get back to sleep. Instead of getting agitated I would use the mantras “Insomnia is good” and “It is not bad for me.” I began to say them over and over again. To keep my mind from worrying about being to tired to do my job properly the following day.”
He decided that instead of trying to get back to sleep straight away, he could use that time in the middle of the night to better himself with meditation and breathing exercises.
He still wakes most nights and is not free from insomnia, but he has learned to work with it and use it as an opportunity, as opposed to viewing it as something stressful.
So even if the above techniques do not always work for you, at least it is possible for you to change the way you think about insomnia, and use your waking time more effectively.