This is my 24th blog, completing 2 years of blogs. I know for sure that the blog has helped some and hope that it has benefited many others in various ways.
Some comments about sleeping problems. I believe that around 2/3rds of my patients have some degree of sleep disturbance. It is labeled "insomnia" by the medical profession for classification purposes, but the label itself carries certain expectations and characteristics in one's mind that can be problematic. Common presumed causes include increased activity of the HPA [hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal] axis, NREM sleep, dysregulation of the arousal system and cognitive system defects. I believe that there is a sizable genetic component as well. My experience has been that the problem often occurs in families of the sleep impaired.
These are my top recommendations for getting for better sleep:
1. Lose the word "insomnia, go to not getting as much sleep as want, forgotten how to sleep, etc.,
2. Don't set sleep expectations too high. Change common misconceptions and expectations- I must have [need] 8 hours sleep a night to my body can accurately determine my sleep needs. I cannot function or do anything after a poor night's sleep to I have functioned adequately on days that I did not sleep well, etc..
3..Do not try to sleep. Sleep is basically a state of "non-doing", of letting go of your day times. If you are trying to sleep you are putting effort into it, which is the opposite of what you should do.
4. Shut down the "chatterbox". Most sleep challenged people find that once they get quiet in the evening and their minds are not being concentrated on something, the little voices in their heads start up. This generally is rehashing the day's events, worries about tomorrow or yesterday and other regrets or concerns. The process is called rumination and seems almost universal in poor sleepers. Remember the day is over, what you did or didn't do is in the past. The future is unknown. In spite of what you may have heard, great thoughts are rare after bedtime. Basically , once in bed there is nothing that cannot wait until tomorrow. Good ways to shut down the chatterbox are sending the voice behind a curtain or wall, moving the voice somewhere else, such as out to the left shoulder [studies have shown that this location cuts way down on chatter] or outside. Slowing it down by dragging out each word, etc.
5. Beware the sleep paradox, i.e. "Don't think about it" almost always becomes "think about it". Very true with sleep. Often you can avoid it by knowing that your body is programmed to sleep and it will sleep no matter what at some point. Make no effort to sleep, just look to relax, get quiet and calm and let the sub-conscious programmer do its job.
Thanks for all of the comments over these past two years. They are inspirational to me. Please keep it up!
Sometime I forget to repeat my 4 basic steps to a better life, a simple morning routine with gratitude, ongoing self-hypnosis, journaling, and be in the now.
Thoughts for the day [most from others, a few originals and paraphrases]:
Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.
Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.
What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.
Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other.
Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.