I remember the day I heard about Michael Jackson’s death. It was on June 27, 2009, two days after it happened. I was flying home from an intensive week-long course where I hadn’t had access to news of any kind. As I watched the story unfold on an airport T.V. during a layover, what I remember most is not the grief at losing this talented performer and fellow human being well before his time, or anger at his doctor for irresponsibly providing a deadly combination of drugs, but compassion and understanding toward the King of Pop.

At the time, Michael Jackson and I shared a malady: we had both spent decades struggling to fall asleep at night. Despite unlimited funds for medical care, Michael could not find a cure because conventional medicine does not have healthy answers for insomnia. Its usual course of treatment — pharmaceuticals — got out of hand. Michael died of an overdose of propofol combined with other sedatives. Propofol is a powerful anesthetic administered intravenously in hospitals to induce and maintain anesthesia – a state of unconsciousness – during surgery. It is not designed or approved for individual use at home. Michael’s personal physician, however, had been administering the drug to him regularly so that he could fall asleep at night.

I had just spent a week averaging only 2-3 hours of sleep each night, which was a typical, even expected reaction for me whenever I spent time away from home learning something new. I was exhausted and achy from my week of inadequate sleep. When I learned the details of Michael’s death, I completely understood why someone would be desperate enough to turn to such powerful sleep inducing drugs.

I had had my own 3-year stint with sleeping pills, ending only when they stopped working, even after I had exceeded the maximum recommended dosage. The rebound insomnia was some of the worst I had ever experienced and it took almost a full year to stabilize after it. Another option would have been to keep taking more and more powerful drugs until finding something as strong and dangerous as propofol. I imagine that is how Michael ended up needing such a strong drug to do what our bodies were intended to do naturally every night. I had turned one way and he had turned the other, yet still I understood all too well the desperation of needing sleep more than anything and simply not being able to get it.

Finally, a couple years after Michael’s death, I found something that reliably and naturally helps me sleep each night. It’s called EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) and combines the ancient healing practice of acupressure with directed mental and emotional focus. It works in the moment as a relaxation technique and “off-button” for racing thoughts, and over the long term as a way to clear up deeper issues and neutralize triggering events of the past. Now that I have moved beyond the debilitating cycle of anxiously tossing and turning at night and stumbling exhausted through my days, it’s my mission and passion to help others move toward peace and empowerment as well. If you struggle with sleep issues, please visit my website at www.beyoninsomnia.com to learn more about EFT and see if it might be a fit for you.