We were pleased to hear the new research conducted by the New Weizmann Institute, has uncovered the idea that smokers could quit in their sleep through a process called 'sleep learning'.
The research, which appeared in The Journal of Neuroscience, suggests that certain kinds of conditioning applied during sleep could influence us to change our behaviour. The study was performed on 66 volunteers who wanted to quit smoking, but were not being treated for the problem.
The researchers exposed the smokers to pairs of smells, such as cigarettes together with rotten eggs or fish, whilst the subjects were asleep. They were exposed to the paired smells at certain stages of sleep, first being given the smell of a cigarette and then a negative smell directly after, repeating this process throughout the night.
This pavlovian-type learning is used to train the brain to subconsciously associate one stimulus with another and although the participants did not remember smelling the odours the next morning, they reported a 30% reduction in smoking over the course of the following week. In contrast, those who were exposed to the paired smells when awake did not smoke less afterward, nor did sleepers who were exposed to cigarette smells and the two aversive smells unpaired, at random times.
Not only can you stop smoking in your sleep, it will also help you sleep better in the long run. Our sleep expert Dr Nerina says "Nicotine is a stimulant and it enhances the effect of adrenaline. Some of my clients have been smoking for years and didn't really notice any effect on their sleep until they quit. They then realise how much more energy they gained and how much better their sleep quality is."
Although this is could be seen as an extreme tactic, we think it is an interesting and innovative way to try and help smokers cut down. Have you tried any weird and wonderful ways to try and give up? Tell us your story via Twitter and Facebook or for more sleep information visit our Sleep facts and stats page.