FAQs

Dr Guy Meadows

How qualified & experienced is Dr Guy Meadows?

Dr Guy Meadows is a sleep physiologist, with a doctorate (PhD) from Imperial College, London. He has been working in sleep for the past 13 years, of which 9 have been dedicated to helping chronic insomnia sufferers. He is pioneering the use of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Insomnia and runs therapist training workshops for the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Therapists (BABCP). He has received additional training in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy at Oxford Cognitive Therapy Centre and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) at Mindfulness Training Ltd. He regularly attends, presents and runs workshops at ACT workshops and conferences and receives monthly ACT supervision. He is in the process of researching the use of ACT with chronic insomnia. He also has a diploma in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy from John Seymour Associates and University of West of England. Dr Guy Meadows is not a psychologist, psychotherapist or a psychiatrist.

Is Dr. Guy Meadows a medical doctor and can he prescribe sleeping pills?

Dr. Guy Meadows is not a medical doctor and cannot prescribe sleeping medication. He is a sleep physiologist, with a doctorate (PhD) from Imperial College, London. He spent four and half years working within the National Heart and Lung Institute in the sleep research laboratories of the Royal Brompton and Charing Cross hospitals. His PhD investigated the regulation of brain blood flow during wakefulness and sleep in patients with sleep apnoea. He has been working and researching within sleep for 13 years.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy or ACT?

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, or ACT, is a so-called “third wave” cognitive-behavioral model of psychotherapy. It is an empirically based psychological intervention that uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies together with commitment and behavior-change strategies, to increase psychological flexibility. ACT has a fantastic evidence base across a wide range of treatment interventions including anxiety, depression and stress, many of which are associated with insomnia. The Sleep School is pioneering its use in chronic insomnia because we believe that a change is required in the way in which insomnia is managed. ACT differs from traditional Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in that rather than trying to teach people to control their thoughts, feelings, sensations, memories and other private events, ACT teaches them to “just notice”, accept, and embrace these events, especially previously unwanted ones. We believe that acceptance of insomnia is the key to recovering from it because you can’t control your sleep and the more you try the further away it goes.

What is the difference between ‘acceptance’ and ‘resignation’?

This is a really common question and it is very easy to think that by accepting your insomnia you are choosing to just live with it for the rest of your life. In fact the opposite is true. Acceptance means choosing to accept your current poor sleeping situation now, so that you can respond in the most helpful way, taking you closer to what’s important to you in the future. In contrast, resignation is where you remain are resentful towards your current state causing all of your actions in the future to keep your stuck exactly where you are now and further away from where you want to be in life.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is about being aware of your thoughts, feelings, sensations and urges in a non judgemental manner and accepting in the present moment. Mindfulness practice, inherited from the Buddhist tradition, is increasingly being employed in Western psychology to alleviate a variety of mental and physical conditions, including obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, and in the prevention of relapse in depression and drug addiction. The Sleep School are pioneering its use within chronic insomnia because we believe it to be an effective tool in relieving insomnia symptoms by reducing the worry associated with poor sleep.

Do I need to be a Buddhist to practice Mindfulness?

Mindfulness practice comes from the Buddhist tradition, however you do not need to be a Buddhist to benefit from it.

Why don’t you use Cognitive Behaviour Therapy?

The Sleep School chooses not to use traditional Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) approaches as it has found it to be of reduced effectiveness in the long term prevention of insomnia. In addition many of our clients report difficulty implementing the traditional approaches leading to poor adherence over time. In addition CBT approaches poor sleep from a control basis, something that we feel goes against many of the basic aspects of natural sleep. We choose to use Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) which teaches people to “just notice”, accept, and embrace their insomnia rather than trying to control it. The Sleep School believes that acceptance of insomnia is the key to recovering from it because you can’t control your sleep and the more you try the further away it goes.

Does your approach have any scientific evidence to back it up?

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Mindfulness have a fantastic evidence base across a wide range of treatment interventions including anxiety, depression and stress, many of which are associated with insomnia. The Sleep School is pioneering the use of these techniques within chronic insomnia because we believe that a change is required in the way in which insomnia is managed. Research and discussion supporting the use of ACT and Mindfulness for insomnia can be found here:

Lundh (2005): http://contextualpsychology.org/Lundh_2005

Dalrymple et al., (2010): http://contextualscience.org/acceptanceandcommitmenttherapyforinsomniaact

Meadows (2012): http://contextualpsychology.org/publications/incorporatingprinciplesfromacceptanceand_commi

Kelly et al., (2014): http://contextualscience.org/files/3%20Feeling%20Refreshed_%20Psychological%20Flexibility%20and%20Perceptions%20of%20Sleep%20Quality%20in%20a%20Chronic%20Illness%20Sample%20Kelly%202014.pdf

Gross et al., (2010): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3077056/

Ong et al., (2012): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3466342/

Ong YouTube Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMkykVP_dqc

What is your success rate?

The majority of clients who attend The Sleep School and who implement all of the tools and techniques on a regular basis experience significant improvements in their sleep ranging from the complete abolition of their insomnia to greatly reduced in extreme cases. A 2011 internal report showed that 83% of the people visiting The Sleep School hugely improved their sleep quality and were very happy with the progress they made. At the time of writing The Sleep School are conducting a year long research project, whereby it will be tracking its clients to assess the efficacy of its approach, the results will be published early Summer 2015.

The Sleep School 1on1 Clinic

Some Information In Brief. . .

What: Consultation or 4 Session Plan

Where: Little Venice, London

When: Contact clinics@thesleepschool.org for availability

Single Consultation Price: £250 (1.5 hour)

Plan Price: £799 (1.5 hour consultation & 3 x 1 hour follow ups)

Single Consultation

All one on one plans start with a 1.5hr consultation to assess the severity of an individual’s insomnia, help to explain why it is happening and what they can do to tackle it. Every consultation client leaves with a bespoke Sleep School workbook with information to read and exercises to follow for one month. In addition each client receives a progress report email one month later. At the end of this session every client will have the opportunity to discuss with Dr. Meadows whether they would benefit from additional sessions.

4 Session Plan

The plan includes the 1.5hr single consultation to start followed by three one hour follow up sessions delivered over a six to eight week period depending on a client’s needs.
This highly successful plan is designed for individuals who have been suffering with chronic insomnia for many months, if not years and who know they need expert one on one support over a period of time to enable them to overcome their sleep problems. The plan sees Dr. Guy Meadows personally guiding and supporting clients through their bespoke sleep school workbook and teaching them how to sleep naturally once more. In addition clients will learn how to effectively manage co-existing and contributing conditions such as stress, anxiety and depression in general life.
Dr Meadows has helped over a thousand insomniacs find good quality regular sleep over the last six years using his approach. Please feel free to read what past clients have to say about their experiences with Dr Meadows here.

The Sleep School Workshops and Courses

What you will learn about on one of our classes. . .

. . . why your insomnia started and how your actions right now might be keeping it fueled.

. . . the truth about sleep and all of the unhelpful myths that surround it.

. . . tools to calm your racing mind and live more in the present moment rather than spending all your time worrying about past poor quality sleep or how bad you will feel if you don’t sleep.

. . . to notice and let go of the reoccurring stories in your head that tell you that won’t sleep or that constantly remind you of how many hours that you have left to sleep.

. . . to free yourself from the unwanted emotions that keep you awake at night such as the anxiety, frustration, despair and/or loneliness of not sleeping.

. . . to accept that the arrival just before bed of a raised heart rate, tight chest or a knot in the stomach does not have to spell out another bad night.

. . . to be able to control the unhelpful urges that flood through the body in the middle of the night such as the desire to get up, drink alcohol and/or take more medication.

. . . to start focusing your energy on getting back to living your life again rather than struggling with your sleep.

. . . how to effectively manage any co-existing conditions that could be impacting your sleep such as excessive daytime stress, anxiety, depression and tinnitus, as well as any dietary or exercise problems.

What you will NOT learn

We promise NOT to tell you to drink warm milk before going to bed or that you need to have a warm bath (unless you really want to!). You won’t need to wind down for hours before going to bed or have to get out of bed in the middle of night and do something boring and completely unrelated to getting to sleep. You won’t have to delve into your past or give your life story (unless you really want to). Just turn up and be ready to learn and start living your life again.

What you will leave with

Whichever class you attend, everyone leaves with a copy of The Sleep School workbook. This details everything that was discussed and provides a clear explanation of what needs to be done to start sleeping naturally once more including exercises to practice on your own and homework to follow. You will also receive five support emails over 10 weeks designed to boost your practice and support you on your road to recovery.

What is the difference between a one day workshop and a weeknight course?

The major differences between one day workshops and weeknight classes is the timing of the events and the number of attendees – the content is identical. The workshops run over one day (10am – 5pm) and are ideal for people who want to learn all of the information in one go and perhaps live outside of London. The courses run over 3 x 2 hour weeknights (7-9pm) allowing attendees to go away and practice between each session and are ideal for individuals living in London. The workshops have a maximum of 30 attendees, whilst the courses are a little more intimate with 15 attendees.

The Sleep Book

Do I need to read The Sleep Book if I am attending a class?

The Sleep Book delivers the complete Sleep School approach and is the supporting text for all Sleep School classes. To achieve maximum benefit from the classes and to start sleeping naturally once more, it is suggested that you read and use The Sleep Book during your recovery process. The Sleep Book is now available in print, ebook and audio.

The Sleep School App

How can I download a copy of The Sleep School App?

The Sleep School App is available on . . .
. . . Apple iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/the-sleep-school/id815696864?mt=8
. . . Android Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=The+Sleep+School&hl=en_GB

Help With My Insomnia

Do I need to set aside a period of my life to do one of your classes?

The Sleep School knows that we all live busy lives and there is never a good time to start implementing a new plan. Everything we suggest is designed to be integrated into your normal life, after all that is exactly when you want to be able to sleep normally.

How long will it take for my insomnia to go away?

Everyone is different and so the exact length of time that it takes to start sleeping naturally again can’t be predicted. It does not take long to learn the tools, but it is the willingness of the individual to sit with their insomnia rather than try to control it that determines its longevity. All of the tools that we offer are designed to help people through this process as quickly as possible.

Do you see people who are on sleeping pills?

The majority of the clients who come to The Sleep School are regularly taking some form of prescribed, over the counter or alternative medication to help them sleep such as Zopliclone, Night nurse or Valerian root. Our aim is to teach you to trust in your natural ability to sleep without the use of medication. All sleep medication exit strategies are provided and performed under the guidance of the clients Doctor or GP and not by Dr. Guy Meadows (PhD).

Do you see people who are on anti-depressant medication?

Yes, the majority of clients who attend The Sleep School are taking some form of anti depressant medication such as Mirtazapine, Trazodone, Amitriptyline, and Sertraline. The intricate link between depression and insomnia means that most clients who experience an improvement in their sleep whilst on the plan also experience an elevation in mood. However all anti depressant medication exit strategies are provided and performed under the guidance of the clients Doctor or GP and not by Dr. Guy Meadows (PhD).

Am I the only one who suffers from this?

No you are not alone chronic insomnia affects up to 25% of the UK population with females being the greatest sufferers. Our clients range from teenagers, new mothers, executives, retirees to professional athletes and come from all ethnic backgrounds and of all ages.

My sleeping seems to be is getting worse, when is it going to get better?

The Sleep School teaches you to sit with the fear of not sleeping so that you can weaken the grip it has over you and sleep naturally once more. In order for you to do this you need to experience poor sleep at the start of the plan rather than trying to avoid it. In this instance it could be said that poor sleep offers an opportunity to start practising all of the techniques that you learn and begin to start letting go of struggling with your insomnia. In some cases withdrawing from sleeping medication can cause your insomnia to worsen for a few days. However the plan aims to limit this effect by providing you with the tools and knowledge to achieve good quality natural sleep.

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