I’ve just finished reading a great book on how to cure insomnia. It’s called “The Effortless Sleep Method” by Sasha Stephens and it kept me awake half the night because I couldn’t put it down. Seriously! I rarely have a problem getting to sleep but I’m no stranger to waking with a jolt of adrenalin after the first 3 – 4 hours of deep or slow-wave “delta” sleep and staying awake for 2 or 3 hours more, if not for the rest of the night.
My problem started after I had children. My son J, who has a severe learning disability, would wake after that first period of deep sleep. We all do this in fact, but whilst most of us barely remember doing so and will roll over and go back to sleep, it’s common for kids with a learning disability to figure that as they’ve woken, it’s time to get up. And that’s precisely what J did for 2 out of 3 nights of the week, eventually dropping off around 5 or 6 a.m. – if, indeed, at all. Now, even when J sleeps well, (he wakes on average maybe 1 or 2 nights out of 7) I have fallen into the pattern of jumping at the slightest sound from the moment my deep sleep period is over and quite often even if there is no sound at all. I will then follow the pattern set for me by J and remain alert for most – if not the rest – of the night.
This early morning period appears to be the time when our subconscious reminds us of our deepest fears and concerns, the fear of not sleeping being one of them! I was chatting with my brother-in-law this weekend about this and he pointed out that in evolutionary terms we are programmed to be of low mood, anxious and on guard at that time of the morning as that’s the time when our ancestors were likely to have been most at risk of attack from a hungry mammal looking for its breakfast. My husband (who sleeps like a log, despite his protestations that he doesn’t) agrees and says that I sleep with “one eye open and one hand on my gun” (figuratively speaking, of course. I don’t actually own a gun!)
Sasha Stephens blows apart the common theory propagated by doctors that poor sleep is linked with depression and therefore that medication is the answer. Of course it can be, but it doesn’t mean that that is the root of the problem. I have to say that I agree. Ms Stephens is not a doctor, nor is her approach to insomnia cure scientific. But she is someone who knows absolutely everything there is to know about insomnia, having suffered chronically for over a decade and having researched and tried every remedy, pill or relaxation method on the market. She is now fiercely opposed to any method of promoting sleep that will provide an artificial crutch and decrease your confidence in your own ability to sleep. She advocates instead breaking the destructive patterns we have around sleep, listing 13 mistakes we make and making 12 “promises” that will cure your sleep problems for good.
If you want to know more about The Effortless Sleep Method check out Sasha Stephens’ websites www.sashastephens.com and www.effortless-sleep.com which are also full of helpful tips for a good night’s sleep.
Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/freedigitalphotos.net