Friday, December 29, 2006

Can't Fall Asleep?

Methods to Battle Insomnia, and What Else Could Be Preventing
You From Getting Powerful Sleep
Have you ever had trouble falling asleep? Or perhaps you frequently wake up at
night and can't fall back asleep? As you may already know, my initial work deals with
helping people with chronic insomnia cure their sleeping disorder at If you've ever suffered from Insomnia, you're about to get
a crash course on what causes it and how to deal with it. You'll also be able to use
this information to increase the quality of your sleep.
There are three types of Insomnia:
Type 1) Sleep Onset Insomnia
When you cannot go to sleep, and usually have to lie in bed from 30 minutes to 3-4
hours (or more) before you finally go to sleep, after much anxiety, stress, tossing and
turning. You usually wake up with a massive headache, feeling drowsy, or with your
whole body aching.
Type 2) Sleep Maintenance Insomnia
You go to sleep normally, but you wake up during the night, once or several times,
and you can't go back to sleep, or it takes a long time for you to go back to sleep.
Type 3) Sleep Disturbance Insomnia
You go to sleep normally, you sleep for a normal amount of time (7-8 hours for adults,
5-6 hours for the elderly), but you wake up un-rested, with a headache, aching,
feeling drowsy, dizzy, etc.
Most Insomniacs suffer from a combination of type 1 and 2, if you suffer from type 3,
you are most likely suffering from Sleep Apnea, or PLM (period limb movement), or
other underlying sleep disorders. Also, if you are pregnant it is very common to
experience type 3 Insomnia, especially in the last tri-semester of pregnancy.
You've already learned about what makes sleep and qualitative sleep possible. You
might already have an understanding as to why most people can't sleep, or sleep
poorly. You've also learned some basics about the conscious and subconscious
mind. What you'll learn here is that there's a very interesting mechanism that actually
prevents people with insomnia from sleeping!
Types of Insomnia
Short Term Insomnia
There are two types of Insomnia, short-term insomnia and chronic Insomnia. Short
term Insomnia IS quite common, everyone in their life suffers from Insomnia at some
point or another, and it is in reflect to the natural occurrences in our lives, stress,
family and relationship problems, finances. Depression, medical and health problems
are also very common causes of short term Insomnia.
Here's where the real important thing you must understand comes into play. For
most people, short term Insomnia lasts only a few days, afterwards their normal
sleep patterns return.
For others, that period never ends, short term Insomnia becomes a part of their daily
lives, perpetuated by the Insomnia Cycle Effect, which turns short term insomnia
Chronic Insomnia
If you have regular sleeping problems, then you have chronic Insomnia. Regular
drowsiness, headaches, depression, and low energy is now a daily part of your life,
falling asleep is pure torture. Don't worry, I've been there, and I know how it feels.
The Natural Sleep Response
What is the difference between someone with sleeping problems and someone who
can fall asleep easily?
The answer lies in the natural sleep response.
As you recall, the first stage of sleep is Stage 1 Sleep. It's in this stage that our brain
waves lower from beta waves to alpha and theta waves, and we enter an Alice in
Wonderland day dream stage that takes us deeper and deeper into sleep. For most
people this response is automatic after they lie in their bed for a few minutes, I call
this response the natural sleep response.
Most of the time, when we lay our head on that pillow, when we feel the warmth of
the blanket around us and close our eyes, our mind gets the signal and says: “Okay
guys! This is it! Sleep time... lower the heart rate, lower brain waves, we're going for
a riiiiiiiiideeee!.” By now, if we simply get out of the mind's way and let it go on its
own, we will naturally enter Stage 1 sleep and proper sleep follows.
Chronic insomnia happens because of a diminished natural sleep response. It's
possible for your natural sleep response to be completely erased by a process called
“negative anchoring”, this is how chronic insomnia develops. Usually people with
chronic insomnia also live a life-style that involves all the bad sleeping habits we've
talked about before, which makes sleep even harder to obtain, and when they do
sleep, the sleep is very unfulfilling.
We will not talk about chronic insomnia anymore in this book, however you can
download a great free e-book I wrote on the topic right at:
If you're like most people, then you've most likely had a time in your life when you
experienced short term insomnia. Something happened, and you couldn't sleep,
perhaps this went on for a few days or weeks at a time. What prevents us from
sleeping at these times? and how can we battle short term Insomnia?
Short term insomnia happens when our natural sleep response is interrupted, and
we can't enter Stage 1 sleep. Despite the fact that we're in bed and our eyes are
closed, our brain waves stay in the beta brain wave stage.
The Racing Mind
You're lying awake, and you can't sleep because your mind just won't stop thinking!
Why can't your mind just shut up!?
Actually, as this is happening, your inability to sleep is NOT the result of your racing
mind. It's actually the fact that you're lying awake that's making your mind race!
That's a pretty interesting concept isn't it? Haha… Okay, allow me to explain.
Our thoughts work in the same way as a snowball that's rolling down a hill. The snow
ball gradually gets bigger and bigger and bigger. Our thoughts work in a momentum
like fashion, meaning that when you apply focus to one thought, you usually keep
thinking about that thought, and that thought leads to other thoughts of that nature.
Wow? Make sense? Probably not, let me make it a bit clearer.
Don't Do this.
Don't picture a bright blue mini van driving down a long road with two trees on the
right side of it.
Did you picture what I just said? Naughty Naughty! Told you not to!
Ha! My point is, our mind works by continuously taking in data and processing it.
This process is often outside of your control. You cannot NOT think about a bright
blue mini van because whenever I mention it your mind has to picture a mini van to
even think about it. Often times our mind has a “mind of its own” and it will move in
directions without you being even aware of it. If what you're thinking about requires
too much conscious thinking, this prevents you from entering Stage 1 Sleep.
The Rule is:
“Wherever focus goes, thought flows.”
Most of us are conditioned to just think about nothing when we go to sleep, our mind
naturally just shuts off after a while and we go into Stage 1 sleep. However, during
stressful times, our focus is entirely different, and our thoughts continue to flow in
very un-sleepy directions. Let me give you an example, suppose you're trying to
relax when you're a bit stressed...
Your thoughts:
Hmm.... It would be nice to just be in a big park right now.
With the birds,
and the bees.....
and all the happy little trees...
I'm walking in the park, lalala... Look, there's a bench in the park,
Lets sit on it....
Hey... I'm sitting.
You know... I sit like this all day in the office too...
I don't like my job, why on Earth did I choose to work there, what was I thinking?
You know, my boss is a real jerk.
I can't believe he assigned me that project.
Oh No! The deadline is in a few days!
What if I don't make it?
What will the people think of me in that conference room?
The Conference Room... There's a coffee machine in there.
I drink too much coffee.
I had all these goals for proper nutrition and I failed to keep up with them.
Why am I always a failure?
This is like that time in High School when I failed my exam.
High school - there was that girl in high school I really liked.
She didn't like me!
This feels so awful! Why didn't she like me!? Is something wrong with me?
WHY CANT I SLEEP?! There's got to be something wrong with me!
Our thoughts can easily turn from a walk in a park to re-living stressful situations
over and over again, simply because of this momentum concept. So what's the
It's simple: You must focus your attention on relaxing, and not trying to *FORCE*
sleep to come.
Of course, relaxing is a challenge for most people too...
Okay, ahhhhhhh,... time to relax.
Wow! This feels good.
Okay, I'll just turn my head to one side there.
Yup... Relax.
Hold on, Gotta move my arm... There...
Okay you know what, I think I like the other side better.
You know, relaxing is a bit harder than I thought
Why Can't I just relax?
Okay... Just Relax...
Again, often the momentum concept takes over and a simple adjustment of position
leads to hours of tossing and turning! We'll deal with how to combat tossing and
turning soon.
The answer lies in focusing all your attention on getting relaxed, and focusing your
imagination on something very pleasant, that you can easily enjoy, without having to
think about it. Your goal shouldn't be to fall asleep, but to simply relax. The reason
for this is simple: The more you focus on trying to fall asleep, the more frustrated and
stressed you will become about the concept of not falling asleep, this will push your
thoughts into a very negative direction. When you completely relax your mind and
body, your brain waves lower - this has been proven scientifically by doing studies
on meditation. As you know, lower brain waves lead to Stage 1 Sleep.
Another reason why a lot of people tend to think forever when they go to bed is
because they engage in very thought provoking activities during the evening, such
as entering arguments with other people or working on the computer. You should
always allow yourself to have a wind-down period before you go to bed.
There are many methods to relax your mind and body. In the bonus of this book you
will find a body & mind relaxation section to guide you through this process in a few
simple ways. For now, lets look at just a couple of methods to quiet your mind in
times that you can't fall asleep.
The Science of Counting Sheep - Alternatives That Work
Why does counting sheep NOT work?
Well, if you were to think about it... a horde of hyper active sheep sporadically
jumping over a fence isn't very calming to the mind! The whole concept is also
ridiculous, when's the last time you saw sheep jumping high in the air over a fence?
Sheep are naturally very lazy animals that spend most of their day eating and
sleeping. If you're HELL BENT on counting sheep, count a bunch of sleeping sheep
with a bunch of ZZzzs forming in bubbles around their heads, on a peaceful green
meadow, this should work better :o)
Here are a few better techniques to slowing down your thoughts, when your mind
just keeps racing.
Thheeee sllooowwwwwwwww mmeeeetthoooodddd
This technique works very well. What you do is hear your thoughts as if you were
saying them out loud, or if you're a more visual person, you can visualize your
thoughts as if they were being written on paper or on a screen right in front of you.
Afterwards, begin to consciously hear/see your thoughts as if they were being played
in slow motion.
So for example, if this was one of your thoughts:
My boss is such a jerk, I can't believe what he did last day at work, I can't believe I'm
working at that company, what was I thinking!
Once you notice you're thinking this way, stop, and replay the thought in your head
very slowly:
Mmyyyy boss, izzzz , suuuuch, aaaahhh, jeeeerrrkkk........ eeeeeyyeeeee, caaan't
After you replay the slowed down thought, you can play it over and over again even
slower, making it shorter and shorter every time, until it fades completely. ie:
My boss is such a jerk...
My boss is such a...
My boss is...
My bo.....
This method is very effective for two reasons:
1) It gives you something else to concentrate on rather than being frustrated.
2) It puts focus on relaxing your mind, which will drive your thoughts into a positive
direction, and prevent your thoughts from sporadically racing around everywhere.
As you try to do this, you will notice a little resistance from your mind, from time to
time thoughts will come racing into your mind. Simply apply the same technique to
them over and over again, and you will find yourself relaxed and asleep in no time.
The Chalk Board Method
This technique works well if you're a highly visual person. If your mind is racing, you
can visualize your thoughts as if they were being written on a black chalkboard at the
same time. Whenever a new thought arrives, for example:
Oh no, what am I going to wear tomorrow?
Visualize your slowly wiping the thought off the chalk board, leaving it completely
This method will have the same effect as the previous one.
Battling with Tossing and Turning
We've all had those nights that we just couldn't find the comfortable part of the bed
and spent hours tossing and turning till the break of dawn. Why does this happen?
Well, your desire to “toss and turn”, really isn't the result of you not being comfortable,
it's the result of you not feeling relaxed. On a deeper feeling our mind wants us to
relax, but most of the times we interpret the message as “find a comfortable spot on
the bed.” True relaxation comes from within you, and has to be triggered by your
inner thought process.
For example: You could be in a hammock on a hot summer day in Hawaii, but if
you're thinking about whether the stock market will rise or fall, and you've got a 100
million dollars on the line and it's REALLY bothering you, it won't matter what
position you're in that hammock, you won't relax!
If you're lying in bed and you get the urge to toss or turn, wait it out, you'll be
surprised how quickly it fades! When you get the urge to toss and turn, ask yourself
“How can I focus on something else right now to feel more relaxed?” As you lie there
for about 15 seconds, you'll be surprised at how the urge to toss and turn simply
fades, and you realize that all you really want to do is relax.
Understand that if you do start tossing and turning, it will not end with just ONE toss
or turn, because of the momentum effect, you will just keep tossing and turning till
the break of dawn!
Sometimes the urge to move is really intense, or maybe you really are in a very
painful position on your bed. If you absolutely MUST move, do it in this way:
1) Move, but move very slowly. Remember what it feels like when you wake up in the
morning and you're very sleepy, do you move very quickly then?
2) As you move very slowly, put a big bright smile on your face, and take a deep
Another reason why tossing and turning keeps us awake is because we do it very
quickly, and the more we do it, the more it agitates us! So do it very slowly, and
make sure to smile and breath deeply, you will feel the difference :-)
Sleep Restriction
Sleep restriction is perhaps the most powerful technique to battle short term
insomnia and chronic insomnia. The rule of sleep restriction is simple:
If you can't fall asleep and you lie awake in your bed for longer than 30 minutes, get
out of bed! Stay out of bed until you feel a tired sensation coming over you, and then
go back to bed.
This works because it interrupts your pattern of thinking. If you've been lying awake
in bed for longer than 30 minutes, your mind is racing, and you can't relax. Chances
are you're not going to suddenly get hit over the head and relax instantly. You've
simply created too much negative momentum and it's keeping you awake! This is
why getting up and out of bed is the best way to interrupt this. Getting out of bed is a
great way to clear your mind, and get the feeling of drowsiness back in you.
Sleep Restriction will also help restore proper bed associations (see below)
Poor Bed Associations
Have you ever had this happen to you?
It’s the end of the day, and you feel tired... perhaps you're even yawning a little. You
get into your pajamas, turn off the light, climb into the bed, and all of a sudden you're
wide awake and you don't feel tired anymore?! This is a very common experience for
anyone with sleeping problems. It's a result of poor bed associations.
As we're going through our day, our minds link certain experiences to emotions or
states of mind, this happens without us even being aware of it. In hypnosis and NLP
(Neuro-Linguistic Programming) this is referred to as state anchoring.
An anchor is an experience, a taste, touch, smell, or sound that instantly recreates
an emotional state in your body. For example, do you have a favorite song that
makes you feel a certain way? As you're reading this, try to remember that song.
Doesn't it seem that whenever you hear the song those emotions just come flooding
right into you? This happens because at some point in time you heard that song for
the first time, at that point you were feeling that way, and those emotions became
anchored to that song.
Often when people can't sleep they try reading a book or watching TV in bed to
induce sleepiness, these actions actually make insomnia even worse. Not only does
watching TV keep your conscious mind awake and racing, it anchors feelings of
wakefulness to your bed. This gets your mind to associate that your bed is a place
where you “think,” not sleep. This completely disturbs the natural sleep response.
Your bed should ONLY be used for sleeping and sexual activity, nothing else.
A lot of people use their bed and their bedroom for a variety of purposes. People
also tend to have heated emotional arguments with our spouse/significant other in
the bedroom, this is a huge no no, as you link major feelings of frustration to the bed!
(this isn’t good in any way!)
Avoid using your bedroom as an office, a workout room, or a storage area. Stay off
your bed during the day, don't lie on the bed when you're talking on the phone, use
your bed only for sleeping or sex.
Taking a Warm Bath or Shower
Another reason why you may have trouble falling asleep at night is because your
body temperature simply isn't dropping! If this is the case, it could either mean:
You're not getting adequate sunlight or exercise during the day. Or... you simply
need less sleep! Stay awake longer and this won't be a problem :-)
If this problem still persists, you taking a hot shower before going to sleep can help
drop your body temperature, however, you must do this right. A lot of people have
conflicting opinions whether taking a hot shower or bath before sleep actually helps
you fall asleep.
If you take a hot bath or shower, you must take it at least 60-90 minutes before going
to sleep, not less. When you take a hot shower, your body temperature rises very
quickly. This is why you feel so refreshed and awake after a hot shower in the
morning. However, after this quick rise, the body temperature rhythm begins to fall
quickly in response after about 60 minutes. This is why we usually feel tired and
lethargic in the first hour in the morning (unless you exercise in the morning.) Most
people choose to battle this drop of body temperature with caffeine...yuck!
A hot bath or shower can help put you to sleep, only if you take it 60-90 minutes
before you sleep. If you try to sleep right after a hot bath or shower, chances are the
body temperature rise will make it harder.
The drop in body temperature is a natural trigger for your mind to relax your muscles,
lower your brain waves and enter Stage 1 Sleep.
Room Temperature
Your room temperature can also affect your sleep. It can affect your ability to fall
asleep, as well as the quality of your sleep.
If you currently sleep in a very hot or humid room, you may experience trouble with
sleeping deeply as your body will have difficulty lowering your body temperature.
Naturally your body temperature will not fall as quickly either and your natural sleep
response may be interrupted.
Studies show that falling asleep in a cool room with an easy atmosphere is much
easier than falling asleep in a hot environment. You also sleep more deeply when
you're in a cool environment.
Take this advice, but not to an extreme! Obviously, if turn your temperature down to
the point where you're FREEZING, falling asleep might be difficult, as your body tries
to raise your temperature in order to survive.
How Light Creates Insomnia
As you recall, melatonin is a hormone in your body which controls your sleep, and is
regulated in reaction to the amount of light available to you. Melatonin is produced
when you're exposed to darkness. The more melatonin in your body, the easier it is
to fall asleep and to sleep deeply. If you have too much light in your room while you
sleep, your melatonin levels will be affected!
Recent studies show that melatonin is even affected by light touching our skin, not
just coming into our eyes. This is why it's so important to sleep in total darkness, and
again, why you should GET MORE SUNLIGHT!
If you currently have a nightlight in your room, or sleep in a room with street light
seeping in through the windows, light could be making your sleep worse. Try to
change your environment so it's as dark as possible.
Sleeping Pills - The Death Rattle to the Sleep System
Sleeping pills are complete poison to your sleeping system. Sleeping pills often turn
short term insomnia into chronic insomnia.
During the mid 19th century the only type of sleeping pills available were
Barbiturates. These pills were very dangerous and only an over dose of about 10
was enough to kill you. Marilyn Monroe died of over-dosing on Barbiturates.
Currently there are about 4 different types of sleeping pills.
1) Benzodiazepines (commonly referred to as BZs)
2) Anti-Depressants
3) Over the Counter Drugs
4) Synthetic Melatonin
We will not go over the details of how these pills work, and the side effects of each
one as it would go beyond the scope of the ebook.
Sleeping pills may put a person to sleep; however, they have many side effects and
leave chemicals in your body which can stay in your blood for up to 6 days! The side
effects of these chemicals are often day-time drowsiness, nausea, blurred vision,
weakness, loss of appetite, and in some cases very frequent urination.
The National Institute of Health recommends that sleeping pills be prescribed to
patients for a maximum of 4-6 weeks as the body does become habituated to
sleeping pills after a few weeks, and they lose their effectiveness. However, most
doctors prescribe them for months! or in some cases even YEARS! Sleeping pills
perpetuate insomnia because they support the belief that insomnia is a ”disease”
that has to be cured with pills. As you know by now, sleeping is an inner system that
is very easily corrected if you know the mechanics of it! The main reason why
doctors prescribe sleeping pills is because they simply don't want to deal with the
patient's sleeping problem, as most doctors only receive about 1 hour of training on
sleeping problems, prescribing pills seems like a very easy solution. Patients often
become psychologically dependant on the drugs and end up taking them for years;
enduring the side effects which make their lives more miserable than BEFORE they
had sleeping problems.
Most sleeping pills work by depressing the activity of the brain, and forcing lower
brain waves. Because of the nature of how sleeping pills work they deprive you of
deep sleep. While you may get a full 7 or 8 hours of sleep, the sleep will be of very
low quality, leaving you with side effects that can last for days.
Sleeping pills are completely detrimental to your sleep system, and your health! A
recent study by Dr. Daniel F. Kripke (M.D) of the University of California shows that
people who use sleeping pills regularly to induce sleep have a much higher mortality
(death) rate than people who don't.
You may get full details on this study right here: Click Here for a Complete Study of
Sleeping Pills
In conclusion, if you're currently using sleeping pills, get rid of them! Not only are
they depriving you of quality sleep, they are depriving you of your day-time energy!
It's a myth that you can take a sleeping pill to get quality sleep and feel energized the
next day.
One final note about pills: Never mix sleeping pills with alcohol, if you do, you
are risking your life!
Insomnia is a “Symptom,” not a Problem
Insomnia is often mistakenly looked at as a “problem” that has to be solved, when in
fact it is simply a symptom of a weak sleeping system. If your sleeping system is
weak insomnia is very likely to occur, and the only way to cure it is by strengthening
your sleep system through using the methods in this book! Inversely, insomniacs
often have very unbalanced wakefulness systems as a result, which is why they
wake up many times during the night and have trouble falling back asleep. These
periods of nighttime awakenings usually happen at the end of a sleep cycle in Stage
2 Sleep. If someone has a weak sleep system it is very difficult for that person to
sleep deeply, therefore they experience a lot more Stage 2 sleep, and awakenings
are even more likely to happen. You can see how this results in an endless loop of
poor sleep and day-time fatigue!
In the next section, we'll wrap up all the information you've learned so far to create
your own Power Sleep plan, to increase the quality of your sleep, decrease your
sleeping time, and get way more energy in your life!
Section Summary
Take this short quiz to better learn and remember what you've just read.
1. The natural sleep response is...
a. A channel that comes with a recent HBO package on TV
b. A natural response that lowers brain waves, relaxes the body, and prepares us for
Stage 1 sleep.
c. A part of your subconscious mind.
d. A point in the day where your body temperature drops.
2. Short term Insomnia is...
a. A common effect of trauma in our lives.
b. A leading cause of death in America.
c. A great movie with Al Pecino.
d. A & C
3. Sleeping pills are detrimental to the sleep system because
a. They are expensive and the stress of having to spend money prevents deep
b. They work by limiting brain activity, thus depriving you of deep sleep.
c. They have long term negative side affects that make you drowsy and tired.
d. B & C
4. A sure way to battle insomnia is to
a. Watch TV or read a book in your bed.
b. Strengthen your sleep system and practice relaxation exercises instead of
focusing on forcing sleep to come.
c. Count hordes of hyper-active sheep jumping over fences.
d. Sleep on your back.
5. To minimize the chance of insomnia, you should always use your bedroom...
a. As an entertainment room for guests
b. As your office.
c. For sleep and sex only.
d. For settling very important arguments with people over the phone.

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