Insomnia doubled in 2020 yet the help on offer is scarce and largely ineffective. Are lasting solutions to insomnia found elsewhere, in other cultures or just with some common sense? Read on to find out more….
It has been my ‘thing’ for the past 6 months to get to the bottom of why the suggestions for better sleep (from sleep science, alternative therapies, the GP) are just not doing the job.
No doubt about it 2020 was a low point for the nation’s sleep, Insomnia has always been around with many of us losing sleep at times of stress, sadness or ill health but this was different. With our familiar schedules and routines shelved until who knows when … we looked for silver linings like no school run, vapour trail free sunny skies and eerily quiet streets.
However the threat an invisible killer, financial uncertainty and worries for the future can understandably chip away at our sense of security and it’s no wonder sleep has been so affected. Problematic sleep doubled in 2020 yet the sector of society most affected has been mothers according to this study by the University of Southampton.
It makes sense when you consider the anxiety that comes with uncertainty and a dearth of the things that tend to keep us afloat; hugs, friends, loved ones some personal space.
We need sleep in order to heal, to process memory and feelings, to have perspective, patience, the energy to get through the day. Ironically melatonin the hormone of sleep has been found essential in recovery and also prevention of Covid 19. So the case for better sleep is clear but what if we can’t, where do we turn?
Many of us turn to Dr Google and find that caffeine is a villain in the story of sleep, lavender is a fairy godmother, blue light is the baddie and checking emails at night the wicked step mother. We will find pillow sprays and extortionate mattresses but not much else.
It’s a complex thing because it’s not the case in all cultures and for all people. In Indonesia they practice Todoet Poeles “fear sleep”, the act of falling instantly into a deep sleep during times of extreme stress. Wow!
Italians commonly drink strong coffee after dinner with no issue whatsoever in falling asleep. Not such a villain in Verona, Vicenza or Venice it would appear. Interestingly enough a study by the University of Basel published in Feb 2021 has found that caffeine consumed in the study did not result in poor sleep for the participants. Well, well, well.
I used to be totally neurotic about caffeine, I had a cut off time of 12pm and if I happened to partake later than that I would taunt myself throughout the day ‘you’re not going to sleep now’ giving myself mean self-hypnosis. And you know what…it worked, I would feel anxious and fight sleep.
It’s not to say there is no substance to the claim that caffeine affects sleep, but to offer a balanced assessment, some people are extremely sensitive to the effects of a cuppa but huge amounts are not. The moral of this story? Be careful what you give your power to. I gave it to the caffeine for years, think of all the hours of sleep I have lost unnecessarily.
I was an insomniac for 3 decades on and off, and never found the available advice helpful. In many ways it provided me with additional anxiety around sleep making me feel my patterns of sleep were bad and I was doing something wrong. It wasn’t until I learnt about mind mastery first with Hypnobirthing and then Yoga Nidra that things improved and now sleep is not a problem but a fascination and a joy.
People frequently contacted me about sleep, for many it was the main reason for practising Yoga Nidra, so Halfway through the pandemic I started researching, learning and contacting people to find out the best way to get to sleep. I say ‘people’ but I really mean just one, Ben Wolff legendary Clinical Hypnotherapist, sleep and breath expert. What that man doesn’t know about the brain, sleep and dreams isn’t worth knowing. Ben has years of helping insomniacs with his M.U.R.E.E.L solutions - most useful rapidly effective easily learnt.
6 months later we have the Help For Sleep protocol, a combination of
- M.U.R.E.E.L techniques for sleep that combine Hypnotherapy, Breath and Neuroscience.
- Serious reframing of ‘problematic sleep’ by looking at other cultures and the nocturnal patterns of previous generations. Spoiler - waking several times in the night is not a disorder we’re meant to.
- Dismantling unrealistic and unhelpful expectations of sleep. Who decided 8 hours unbroken sleep is the goal anyway and how much sleep do we really need?
- Mythbusting I’ve given you a taste of this already with our Italians and Indonesians circuit breaking our beliefs caffeine and stress using up to date science and a sprinkling of common sense.
Ben & I are holding a comprehensive 10 hour Help For Sleep virtual training 15/16 May with The Shala London. If you are keen to conquer your insomnia or learn how to best support loved ones this is the training for sleep. This training is also recognised by Yoga Alliance so for any Yogis reading this might it counts towards your CPD.
Check out Help For Sleep Training here
RECLAIM THE NIGHT FOR LOVELINESS & MAGIC
You know the best thing about cracking sleep is that you can get on with using the night for the really good stuff.
We spend a third of our lives asleep but the majority of us are completely unaware of the potential within the night. We have been told that the ideal is to be asleep as soon as our head hits the pillow and awake remembering nothing, and in that we have missed the point entirely.
Sleep should not be a time of nothingness but liberation, healing, insight and creativity. Einstein knew, Lennon and Tesla knew too.
There is a growing movement of people learning about Lucid dreaming and Tibetan Dream Yoga allowing them to explore and wake feeling refreshed and with their mojo well and truly back. Which leads me to….
Ben and I are holding 10 one hour lunchtime lie downs Ten Lessons in Nightness starting 15 March 1-2pm, where we reveal secrets of guiding sleep to look and feel your most fabulous all underpinned with science, breath and a bit of Tibetan magic. We will also do a practice in each workshop…bliss. Including:
Beauty Sleep ( what can science tell us about wrinkle smoothing, fat burnin’ all while we sleep)
Family Sleep (how to get your loved ones to sleep - handy)
Superchargin’ Sleep (for those after a boost)
and many more, 7 in fact you can find them here
Drop in for one with your lunch or collect the whole set (including recordings). For more info & to book