Insomnia is a distressing condition for many. It affects people in ways that are hard to see outwardly, but manifest in varying difficult levels of tiredness during the day. It is often the case that anxiety accompanies insomnia, so that people feel worried about their lack of sleep, and then this causes them to continue to have poor sleep as they worry more more about whether they will get enough rest to be to function during the day.
Added to this sort of problem one may find the use of quite strong sleeping medication, which may actually make their condition very much worse in the long term. I am not a medical practitioner in the conventional sense and can never make direct recommendations about patients reducing their conventional medication however many of my patients have managed to reduce their sleep medication by themselves in conjunction with treatments for insomnia.
Treatments for sleep problems nearly always include a careful assessment of the emotional condition of the person and the treatment will encompass helping the person feel more balanced emotionally. A standard course of treatment is to benefit insomnia will last at least six weeks.
In a way you might think that the idea of sleep needs no introduction – we have all had sleeping – like eating or breathing – as a basic reality and background to ourday to day lives since we could think about our own lives. However – unlike eating and breathing – sleep occurs outside the range of normal waking consciousness; and as a result it possesses an enigmatic any mysterious quality. We are unable to consciously access most of our own experiences during sleep – and what we may recall are internally generated experiences of the dream state with their sometimes hallucinogenic quality. If we are awakened from sleep by an external trigger our“rational” perception of it will be profoundly affected by the experiences we were just having in sleep – however difficult it may be to remember them. So this chapter ismore of a re-introduction – because by touching upon many of the characteristics ofsleep and the problems we may have with sleep, I feel we are revisiting an ongoingexperience that we all have – almost behind the qualities of our busy working and playing lives.
So sleep is our lifelong companion – and a commonly neglected one – both by thetherapeutic community (conventional and complementary medicine alike) and by the sleepers themselves – who upon waking from perhaps a fitful dream disturbed night throw themselves into the waking routine without heeding their affected mood orcognitive abilities – or relating their experiences of well-being and disease to thequality of their sleep and rest-hours.
Whereas most of our lives – conscious lives that is – are about work and play, about doing things – sleep and rest are about re-creation and rejuvenation – and have less “doing” quality and more “being” quality. Consequently any therapeutic approachother than the disappointingly unimaginative approach of drowning sleep problemswith tranquilizers – needs to involve the step of trust to let go and trust in the body’s natural ability to be, rest, recover and sleep.
The interventions I give in the clinic all have promote essential letting go in them – and if they didn’t, they wouldn’t work – because the vast majority of sleep problems are solved when we get out of our own way andallow our own in-built healing programme to re-establish itself : that of natural sleep