Insomnia cure

by Victoria Young on Thursday, 2 April 2009

Victoria Young finds out if a book, a CD and a meeting with the maestro make a difference

“For the past three nights Paul McKenna has taken up residence in my bedroom and I’ve been lulled to sleep each night by his deep voice.

I used to be one of those people who didn’t believe insomnia existed. Then, a series of mini personal earthquakes turned me into one of those people who just didn’t sleep.

That phase left a legacy of occasional insomnia, which is why Paul’s book, compellingly titled I Can Make You Sleep, is so appealing.

Much of what he suggests is common sense. He promises that if you follow his ‘system’ by reading and rereading the book, and listening to his trance CD every night, then the world of regular, deep, refreshing sleep will be yours for the taking.

But some of his advice requires more of a leap of faith, as I discovered when I met him in person. Paul asks me to visualise the worst moments of my insomnia. He tells me then to view it like movie footage, going backwards. Then to imagine it backwards at very high speed. We do this again and again. It is to decontaminate the memory, Paul says. Then we move on to another of the techniques in his book – ‘thought field therapy’, which involves tapping on key acupuncture points of the body.

I leave Paul feeling optimistic. That night I listen to the CD I don’t wake all night. The day after that, I wake up in the night but try one of his techniques and am asleep before I know it. The day after that, I ditch the CD – and wake up three times in the night. So if I want to sleep, it has to be in the company of Paul McKenna.”

Paul’s tips for a good night’s sleep
- Get up half an hour earlier than your usual wake-up time.
- Go to bed only when you’re sleepy.
- If you’re in bed awake for more than 20 minutes, get up and do something boring or an exercise from the book.
- Make sure your bed is comfortable and sleep in a cool, dark room.
- Take at least 20 minutes of exercise three times a week.
- Make your bedroom as soundproof as possible (with earplugs or by listening to Paul’s CD).
- No TV at least an hour before bed.
- Never eat later than three hours before going to sleep.
- No caffeine after 2pm, and cut out alcohol for a couple of weeks.

I Can Make You Sleep (including CD) by Paul McKenna (Bantam Press, £10.99)

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