Solutions for Insomnia

Insomnia creates a huge burden for those who suffer from it.  And it is one of the most common challenges to health and well-being in the US, affecting an estimated 9 % of Americans.  Some insomniais physiological, caused by problems such as sleep apnea.   Some of it is tied to daily stresses or lifestyle patterns.   And some of it is related to childhood trauma.

Childhood trauma is often an underlying cause of insomnia.  The ACE studies, an extensive and extremely credible study of the long-term effects of childhood trauma showed that 46% of insomnia sufferers had traumatic childhood experiences.   This is not surprising, given that insomnia is also a symptom of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

There are many mechanisms by which this can happen.   A common one involves patterns of repression.   Individuals with unresolved trauma try to keep the painful emotions out of the conscious mind.   This is done by shutting down some of the brain structures that freely carry feelings and information between the conscious mind (cerebral cortex) and the deep brain (limbic system, diencephalon and brainstem).  The flow of feelings and information betwen higher and lower brain structures happens most easily when the brainwaves slow down to an alpha or theta wave state, as normally happens when people begin to relax and drift into sleep.  Individuals with unresolved or repressed trauma tend to avoid entering the alpha wave state.   These types of individuals often keep a constant noise going in their heads, continually playing music, radio, television or computer to keep their mind busy and in “fast” (beta wave) mode.   Such individuals often resist a regular bedtime, and stay up very late until they are exhausted.   Or, even when they lay down in bed, these types of persons keep their minds in beta wave mode, with constantly racing thoughts and worries–which makes it very difficult to fall asleep.   For such individuals, learning safe, slow emotional release techniques can take away the fear, and make it safe for them to learn to relax normally.

Insomnia is a chronic challenge for many people.  In addition, a recent study showed that 30% of individuals with normal sleep can develop insomnia symptoms in a given year.  Continuing insomnia can have very serious health implications.   Insomnia sufferers show a substantial increase in symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Sleep problems can also be caused by a variety of behavior patterns that interfere with normal circadian rhythms, reduce the body’s production of the sleep-inducing chemical melatonin, raise stress hormones such as histamines at bedtime, and otherwise sabotage the body’s sleep patterns.

Learn what can be done to improve the quality, regularity and depth of sleep.   Discover simple schedule adjustments that can have a big impact, and learn how to avoid classic mistakes that tend to make insomnia worse.  Find out how relaxation techniques can improve the depth, duration and quality of sleep.

Learn about important techniques that can help you compensate for jet lag, swing-shift work, or frequent sleep interruptions (such as caring for a baby)

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