Having worked with thousands of people over my long career, I’ve observed how the inability to get a good night’s sleep has grown into a major stress factor of modern life. It’s estimated that at least one-third of the world’s population suffers from lack of sleep, a sleep disorder, sleep deprivation or full-blown insomnia.
Yet when I work with my students and clients, it seems the actual lack of sleep is rarely due to the body’s inability to manifest it. After all, sleep is something the body naturally does. It’s an ability we’re born with.
In fact, lack of sleep is much more related to factors that disrupt, interrupt, or interfere with the natural ability to sleep. These causal factors are mental and emotional. They are stressful thoughts – usually subconscious – that run along our mental pathways. They often run in long loops. Think of them as “thought lines.” These thought lines prevent full-scale sleep.
Why do they prevent sleep? Because there is an inherent, subconscious fear of losing control over the primary stressors.
- If monetary lack is a stressor, the thought lines keep tracking and looping our bills, bank balance, business problems and so on
- If the main stressor is relationships, then the thought lines keep tracking and looping conversations, arguments, painful encounters, and hurtful situations.
- If the main stressor is a health concern, the circular repetitive thoughts keep on tracking symptoms, test results, treatments, diets, supplements, medications.
This is true of every major – or minor – stressor in life. Employment, unfinished projects, deadlines, concern about loved ones… I’m sure you can make a list as long as your arm.
Each major stressor negatively influences the free flow of your body’s normal, natural cycles. Each stressor interrupts…
- Digestion (and overall energy levels)
- Metabolism (affecting weight gain and/or loss)
- Emotional stability (resulting in feeling overwhelmed by external circumstances)
- Loss of interest in sex (and often the general passion for living)
- Headaches (related to unresolved tensions in relationships or even old hurts)
- Aging (whether chronological or premature, lines appear on the face, hair starts to lose its color and luster)
Of course, Some sleep disrupters are easily identified. Think diet (late night caffeine, alcohol, or eating a big meal right before bed), environmental interference (air pollution or seasonal allergies), or electro-magnetic fields that interfere with brain wave activity (smart meters, home WiFi, TV etc.). The cause could even be as simple as an uncomfortable mattress.
For example, when a highly trained hypnotist leads someone through the maze of obstacles, plants the seeds of a healthy sleep, and lets nature run its course, sleeping through the night can be achieved. Someone was needed to plant the seeds of sleep for you, but the point is, your mind can override all kinds of things that attempt to block your sleep. In fact, I truly believe that…
You can override these negative influences when you understand consciousness and how to work with it.
Sleep also tends to flow – and get interrupted by – less tangible things. For example, sleep can be affected by various cycles, such as…
- Economic cycles
- Learning cycles
- Spiritual cycles
- Health cycles
- Relationship cycles
These cycles actually flow in a natural rhythm, very much like the seasons of the earth moving effortlessly from Summer to Autumn, Winter, Spring and back into Summer. Human affairs, whether inter-personal, community-based, or global, also tend to follow an innate tendency to flow in cyclical patterns.
For example, most people naturally like to slow down and “hibernate” a bit more in Winter. Their energy picks up in Spring and activity goes into full bloom in Summer. And then, at harvest time in Fall, we look at what we’ve accomplished, then tend to let go of things no longer serving us. Such cycles are normal, healthy and purposeful.
If we allow seasonal cycles to unfold naturally in our lives, then our sleep is not affected by trying to hold on to that which no longer serves us. Similar cycles unfold in digestion, cardiovascular function, aging, and yes, all of them affect sleep.
What is a “normal” sleep pattern?
Normal sleep patterns run a cycle of ninety minutes, plus or minus a few minutes either side. These normal cycles align the electrical brain wave activity from high Beta brain wave frequency, down through Alpha, into Theta and bottoming out at Delta. From there it is a slow cycle back up through the frequencies to bring us back to reverie, where in a normal sleep we would simply shift a little, adjust and move back on down through the next ninety minute cycle. We average between four to six of these per night.
That is for the healthy individual. But what happens if we’re not 100% healthy? What if we consciously or unconsciously interrupt these cycles? We get out of “synch” and rather out of sorts.
If our sleep doesn’t flow through those frequency levels without interruption…
- The cycles are truncated and we impede the quality of our life.
- When we impede the quality of our life then the stressors loop back on us.
- Which in turn Impedes the quality of our sleep. Enter full blown INSOMNIA.
Contemporary medical advice often suggests the use of sleeping pills.
Now not all sleeping aids are bad. But consider what happens on an energy level when you artificially interfere with a normal, natural cycle via chemicals, The chemicals release specific frequencies into your body-mind complex, and those frequencies have side effects. A little research will make that clear to you.
A sleeping pill can, in extreme cases, be a tool to ease suffering – temporarily. But it makes much more sense emotionally as well as physically to work towards un-medicated, normal, natural, healthy sleep. For example, emotional health depends upon being able to go through the process of dreaming. Sleep researchers tell us that dreams are a natural and healthy part of restorative sleep (in addition to often being informative and rich in wisdom).
I hope you are beginning to see that deep, healthy, rejuvenating sleep is essential to good health on both the physical and emotional levels. Restorative sleep results in greater alertness, mental clarity, physical vitality and stamina for dealing with all of life’s everyday challenges.
For the business person, a good night’s sleep can be worth its weight in gold. For the parent, it means connecting with a child deeply. For the healer, it means being energized instead of drained.
And many modalities can improve sleep. A good exercise program, Tai Chi, Chi Gong, reflexology, chiropractic work, diet can all help. But perhaps you’ve tried them, and they’ve worked… but only temporarily. That’s because they can redirect those “thought lines.” But in many cases, they can’t reroute them permanently.
I am a great believer in getting to the root cause of sleep problems.
This is why I have produced sleep-specific guided meditations. They address the baseline problem – deep subconscious and unconscious stressors. These meditations actually work on several levels, and I’ve created a version that uses a brainwave entrainment method I developed that includes binaural and isochronic frequencies, Solfeggio-based, together with deep guided visual imagery. Click here to learn more about how meditation can help you restore the healthy sleep you deserve.