People with insomnia can feel like they never get any real sleep, as they have problems falling asleep combined with waking up in the middle of the night, or way too early in the morning. Of course, all of us have sleep issues here and there, but insomnia is a pervasive problem that can affect people almost every night. What is a person to do?
- Sleep benefits both your health and emotions:
- REM sleep, the stage of sleep where you are dreaming, is vital for emotional health since REM sleep essentially sweeps out the unprocessed high emotional states from the day before. So, when you wake, you can more easily cope with the day’s incidents that affect your emotions. This can easily be observed by watching (and listening to) cranky babies that have not gotten the sleep they need!
- Deep sleep, technically called slow wave sleep, rejuvenates the physical body. And, just like your mother always told you - you need deep sleep to avoid getting and to heal sickness, as your immune system gets strengthed in this deep sleep state.
- Lack of sleep can have severe detrimental effects. Sleep deprivation studies have shown that when you don’t get sleep, you can experience loss of physical balance, loss of memory - and even hallucinations. So, obviously, sleep is important.
- Yet, sleep issues are pervasive, since we can carry our worries and stress to bed, which prevents us from getting to sleep and staying asleep.
- The ubiquitous TV commercials will tell you that sleeping pills are the magic answer to your sleep issues. Unfortunately, though, sleeping pills can impair your quality of sleep while possibility increasing anxiety.
- And, you can’t force yourself to sleep. Instead, if you are not getting the sleep you need, you need to retrain your mind to get back to the natural sleep processes you had as a baby.
“It is almost as if they have 'forgotten' how to sleep properly, or that they have become conditioned to responding to the sleep situation (i.e. bedtime) with anxiety or irritation instead of relaxation. What often needs to happen in these circumstances is a 're-training' of the mind and body in achieving the state necessary for sleep to occur.“