Guided Imagery and Meditation Blog | Health Journeys

You are here: Home Sleep/Insomnia Insomnia Research The management of unwanted pre-sleep thoughts in insomnia.

The management of unwanted pre-sleep thoughts in insomnia.

15 Aug

The management of unwanted pre-sleep thoughts in insomnia: distraction with imagery versus general distraction.

Forty-one people with insomnia were assigned to one of three possible groups. One group received instructions on how to use imagery to distract themselves from the unwanted thoughts, worries and concerns that were keeping them awake. Another group got general instructions general instructions to distract themselves, and the third group got no instructions. The imagery group fell asleep faster and had less distressing pre-sleep thinking and worrying than the other two groups. The study investigators attribute the success of the "imagery distraction" intervention to its occupying sufficient "cognitive space" to keep the individual from re-engaging with thoughts, worries, and concerns during the pre-sleep period.

Citation: Harvey AG, Payne S., The management of unwanted pre-sleep thoughts in insomnia: distraction with imagery versus general distraction. Behavioral Research and Therapy 2002 Mar;40(3):267-77

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award