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'.


Image: pixabay

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

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

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.