Mind Games

Because insomnia is triggered, at least in part, by anxiety about insomnia, the worst thing we can do is think about not being able to sleep.

By Johann Lehrer in The New York Times

My insomnia always begins with me falling asleep. I’ve been reading the same paragraph for the last five minutes — the text is suddenly impossibly dense — and I can feel the book getting heavier and heavier in my hands. Gravity is tugging on my eyelids.

And then, just as my mind turns itself off, I twitch awake. I’m filled with disappointment. I was so close to a night of sweet nothingness, but now I’m back, eyes wide open in the dark. I dread the hours of boredom; I’m already worried about the tiredness of tomorrow.

Why did my brain wake itself up? What interrupted my slumber? To understand this frustrating mental process, let’s play a simple game with only one rule: Don’t think about white bears. You can think about anything else, but you can’t think about that. Ready? Take a deep breath, focus, and banish the animals from your head.

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[read the full article at http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/28/mind-games/?8ty&emc=ty%5D

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