Let’s face it – sleep is pretty important. It’s a huge part of the equation for living in a body, along with other biggies like food and water. And beer. Just kidding… The subject of sleep has come up in sessions with clients recently, so I thought I’d write about it here and share what they’ve done. One is using meditation, which is pretty cool. He’s having great results.
The main thing is letting the mind know that it can worry about whatever it wants the next day, but when you lie down to go to sleep, it is definitely not the right time. Why? because it’s time to sleep! This is much easier to do for some than others. My older brother, for example, is in REM sleep as soon as his head hits the pillow. His wife, on the other hand, who is my long time sister-in-law, just wasn’t born that way. I’m kind of in the middle, but probably closer to her. None is wrong – we just have to learn what works for us.
Probably the biggest issue for folks who have trouble sleeping is too much thinking. And how funny it is that that’s one of the biggest issues for humans in general – we just think too much. One client came to see me and learned in the first session, as they all do, that it’s optional to listen to the voice in the head. He learned that he really can just let it go when he notices it, and when he does that there’s silence. And when the thoughts come back, which of course they do, he can let them go again, just like that. When he came in a week later, he said he had slept for eight hours in a night, something he hadn’t done in years! He also learned how to release, of course, and that’s a huge help for everything. He’s carrying less, so his mind has less to think about and comment on.
The other client I mentioned above has been using guided meditations to fall asleep. I had suggested just sitting for a few minutes and breathing before bed. He could also do this while he was already lying in bed. He went ahead and downloaded some guided meditations, and he said he’s basically asleep before they’re even over. His are from a person named Jack Kornfield, who is an American Buddhist with decades of meditation experience. I think there are tons of meditation out there if you look around, so you can find what works for you. Or you can just breathe and “merge with your source.” I like that kind – so general. And you can do it all through the day, so it’s not like you have to be “sitting in meditation.” You can be in your car, at work, in the grocery store, etc.
My client who uses the guided meditations uses headphones so as to not disturb his partner, so I asked if the headphones are a problem at all, like sleeping with them on. He said they are not a problem at all. It sounded like he’s pretty zoned out by the time the meditation ends, but he’s awake enough to take them off. And this doesn’t disturb him at all. Sleep issues solved!
Another thing to think about is that whether or not we have trouble sleeping, we don’t want to carry our BS from the day into the next morning. That’s just not the best way to start the next day. So it’s good to let go of what we’re holding before we go to bed. We’ll sleep better and we’ll probably have a better morning, too.
Either way, don’t just do nothing about it if you’re having trouble sleeping. And if you really have serious sleep problems and have tried everything under the sun, then I don’t really know what to say except keep trying! And try your best to let go of any anger this causes. But for people who are just thinking and worrying too much, what I’ve written about here should help – if you actually practice it for a while.
The final thing I’ll say is that sleeping pills like Ambien are fine, but I’d try to handle it on your own so that you can eliminate them or at least take the bare minimum. That’s generally the best attitude with pills – less is best. And for the CYA part of our show, let me be clear that I Am Not A Medical Doctor! From what I’ve seen with my clients, doctors aren’t afraid to throw a ton of pills at a problem. This often treats the symptoms but not the cause. It seems that’s how doctors and psychiatrists are trained these days, so I’m certainly not blaming anyone. Here at A Clean Mind, though, we’re trying to get at the cause. And again, I Am Not A Medical Doctor! I want to keep my streak of no lawsuits alive… Sweet dreams!