I was doing really well with my sleep until the day came for me to do my taxes. I don’t think I’ve ever really liked doing my taxes, but I like them a lot less since I have been self-employed. After about two months of looking at those piles of receipts and records with a gnawing feeling, I finally sat down and did them.
I ended my last post by posing a question to the Universe: How do I find the balance between working hard and achieving results, and being fully grounded in my life and peacefully sleeping at night? I haven’t ever achieved this in my adult life. Probably the last uninterrupted stretch was my sophomore year in high school… and that was a long time ago! So, I am venturing out to discover a New Way of Being.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Despite organizing my whole business around helping people sleep better, I don’t always sleep that great myself. While I now have MANY more nights than I ever used to have where I close my eyes and wake up in the morning feeling blissfully rested and refreshed, and I almost never have difficulties falling asleep initially anymore, I still experience those pesky middle of the night wake-ups where I don’t fall instantly back to sleep. The big difference between the old me and the new me is that I don’t panic or even get anxious about it anymore. Instead, I get curious.
When “Jim” contacted me, he was pretty frustrated and upset. For the past couple of months he had been on a roller coaster ride of stress, insomnia, and sleeping pills. While the sleeping pills knocked him out most nights, he was afraid of becoming addicted and spent several nights each week not taking them. On those nights he might not sleep at all, and this was, of course, very disturbing. Then it happened that even on the nights he did take medication, he was no longer getting the knock-out conk-out effect that is so alluring for insomniacs, and sometimes not even sleeping at all. This is the point where Jim called me.
New Research Reports EFT Effective Treatment for Insomnia
Do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night? Do you often find yourself tossing and turning, watching the clock in frustration while anxiously anticipating how tired you will be the next day? If so, you are not alone. In our modern, fast-paced world insomnia is an ever-growing problem. An estimated 70 million Americans suffer from some form of sleep difficulty, with about 10% of the population suffering from severe, chronic, debilitating insomnia. The problem is even more prevalent in our senior population, with over one-half of adults over 60 reporting chronic sleep issues.
To Nap or Not to Nap?
That is a big question in the world of insomnia
Most insomnia programs that do not simply mask symptoms with drugs focus on behavioral and life style choices that affect sleep.
Most of this is good overall health advice. Who can argue with recommendations such as getting regular exercise and exposure to sunlight, sleeping in a peaceful dark, quiet room, or monitoring caffeine and alcohol intake? Good suggestions for everybody.
Finding the Off-Button for those Racing Thoughts
By far the most common complaints I hear from my clients and workshop participants concern racing thoughts in the middle of the night that won’t quit. I can sympathize with this. For years I wanted an “off button” like the one on my CD player, so I could turn my noisy brain off and get some sleep. Why didn’t human beings come equipped with one of those? Now at last I have found mine and would like to share two recent experiences with you.
Probably the most frequent question I get asked as a sleep coach is, “What do you do about middle of the night wake-ups?” Most of my clients are able to fall asleep easily, but then wake up sometime between the hours of 1:00 and 4:00 in the morning and can’t get back to sleep. I wish I could say I had the magic cure-all for this problem and that it no longer happened to me anymore… but that would not quite be true. What is true for me is that I no longer experience panic, anxiety, anger or loneliness when this happens, and have even learned to embrace the peace and stillness of the night as a time to do deep inner work or creative writing. This not only means a more enjoyable night experience with a better chance of resuming sleep, but less exhaustion and a better mood the next day, which in turn leads to less anxiety and better sleep the following night. Since I have found Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT or “tapping”), I have developed the following steps for dealing with middle of the night wake-ups:
EFT is an amazing tool that achieves incredible results. As a practitioner my tongue often gets tangled when I try to talk about WHY it works, and it is sometimes hard to gauge how much people really want to know. If you are curious about the science behind this simple, yet powerful technique, please read this article by one of my mentors, Craig Weiner DC.
This cartoon brought up memories of what it was like to have chronic, debilitating insomnia. Several years ago I belonged to a musical group I really enjoyed, but it was almost an hour away. The rehearsals ended at 9:00 p.m. and on the drive home, I would catch myself falling asleep, and there were actually times where I think I did fall asleep for a second or two at the wheel. I would jerk awake in terror and the rush of adrenaline would usually sustain me for the rest of the drive, but it was scary and painful.