Ken Gray: case study
Since its launch a year ago, more than 3,000 serving RAF personnel have signed up to use the mindfulness app, Headspace.
One of those personnel is Flight Sergeant Ken Gray who was recommended the app by a colleague after complaining of trouble sleeping. Forty-six-year-old Ken, who is based at RAF Valley, had suffered with insomnia for years with unsettled sleep and vivid dreams.
“For me it is the washing machine affect in your head that makes it really difficult to get to sleep and to stay asleep in the night. Added to that, I’m then getting up for work feeling and looking tired. So, my colleague recommended Headspace to me.
“The first night I tried it, I slept twice as long as I had in the last six to eight months. The app helps you to focus on your breathing and then a particular part of your body, and helps to quieten the thoughts like ‘where is my next posting, what is the dog up to’.
“It does not even get to the end of the programme and I am flat out! I don’t use it every night, just when I feel that washing machine going off in my mind and I need to relax.”
The Headspace app is free for all serving RAF personnel to access and was launched with a pilot scheme in May last year before being rolled out to all RAF last November.
Headspace is a ‘gym membership for the mind’ providing access to guided mindfulness exercises, delivered straight to your phone or browser, in bite-sized 10-minute sessions – perfect for busy schedules. You can choose different exercises that focus on specific areas such as sport, health or happiness.
Research has shown that participants begin to experience the benefits of mindfulness after using it for just 10 minutes a day for 10 days.
If you are a currently serving member of the RAF (regular or reserve) and you would like to request a Headspace membership please email [email protected] from your MoD email account, quoting your service number.
See also: Military charities