Updated: Oct 14, 2020
It wasn’t always. Sleep used to be something that happened without creativity or persuasion, but that’s no longer the case. Times and lifestyles have changed and part of evolving is adapting to this.
In the meantime though, insomnia is more rampant than ever. As insomniacs, this adaptation is our greatest challenge, but I believe it’s also our greatest gift. There’s a reason YOU in particular are experiencing such resistance. You are creative, sensitive, an empath perhaps.
I feel like I know you. You are an artist.
The very gift that has challenged your sleep will be the gift that propels you forward, connecting you to something significant. You are out of the box in so many ways, but have just yet to apply this gift as a sleep artist.
BEYOND THE FIRST GLANCE
Falling asleep is more challenging than ever but more challenging than it needs be, in part to the inaccurate paradigms we follow as guides.
There is no shame in this.
We were born into these paradigms but also create our own when “real life” follows us into our sacred sleep spaces. A bad paradigm is born when we experience insomnia and react with solutions grounded more to misunderstanding than intuition. You can’t sleep because of this, that or the other and then you exhaust all the methods insomniacs try to fix those things, but nothing works.
My proposal is to go beyond this paradigm, to find the reason why you CAN sleep, no matter what, instead of engaging with erroneous emotional sources of insomnia, like not being able to shut off the brain or not being able to let go. This is a more agreeable paradigm for falling asleep, it turns out.
The art to falling asleep is not in what you do – or how you do it – but WHY you do it. In other words, whatever you’re doing to fall asleep more easily will not entirely work if the reason you’re doing it is unsubstantiated. More often than not, the proposed causes and solutions for sleep problems are off the mark, with most solutions causing more harm than good to the sleep psyche.
PAINT A CONCEPT YOU CAN INTERPRET
Insomnia is an unfinished abstract painting, a war between chancy sleep weaponry and misperception – where you are fighting a non-existent enemy with helpless weapons I call faulty sleep concepts.
“I have to __________, so that I can sleep.”
Faulty sleep concepts develop when people fill in this blank incorrectly. What makes their answer incorrect is that this thing is really challenging for them, doesn’t seem to work, or is not possible without a supplement. If this is you it’s not that you’re wrong, it’s just that the paradigm you’re operating within is imprecise and why you have probably uttered the sentence “I’ve tried everything.”
When you try everything and nothing works, you might start to think you have a pretty serious and unsolvable problem.
But you don’t. Your strategies are just conceptually out of alignment with sleep, either because they aren’t necessary or because they contradict what happens on a circadian level.
To disassociate from these faulty sleep concepts and resolve the challenge of falling asleep, distinctions are necessary. All life forms were evolved to sleep and experience life independently of one another. Distinctions are what allow you, the most complex life form, to separate sleep from whatever life experience may be interfering with that sleep.
Distinctions give birth to new concepts that allow sleep and life to coexist. They take what you normally do or think to fall asleep and shuffle those concepts around until you can land on ones that make more sense, feel better, and actually work.
If you can’t shut off your brain for instance, what could you do with your brain that you have more control over?
Perhaps tell yourself a story that’s more aligned with sleep? There are always more evolved ways to strategize but in this example I was able to change a faulty concept, not only to something I could control, but to something more accurate, since a brain doesn’t shut off when it sleeps anyway.
The work of art titled “Sleep” is peacefully completed when what you do to fall asleep is emotionally independent of life, aligned with sleep biologically, and most importantly, engages your mind to start believing you can sleep. The confidence that slowly builds is ultimately what makes sleep repeatable.
DISTINCTIONS ARE SIMPLE BUT THEY TAKE PRACTICE
One of the distinctions I make in my 5 step system called the Art of Falling Asleep is between balancing and relaxing. This distinction allows one to see that “relaxing to fall asleep”, proven to be difficult for many, is a faulty concept.
The relaxation that occurs before sleep used to be autonomic, when darkness and ease were more prevalent leading up to bedtime.
Blue light, stress, and the temptation of distraction however have created great distance between being wide awake and naturally relaxed, tricking us to think we need to reach for relaxation instead of allowing it to happen to us. From here comes the faulty concept that “we need to relax” in order to sleep, a concept exploited by marketers.
Relaxation is still something that happens on the way to sleep. The distinction here between balancing and relaxing is only in receiving vs. reaching.
Knowing this allows one to see that if relaxation has not arrived by their desired bedtime, the problem is either in an imbalanced mind and body or an untimely sleep clock which should be resolved using an entirely different approach.
Nothing from this example tells me this person has a real problem, other than lacking a boundary hack, like wearing blue blocker glasses, that allows them to receive relaxation. It’s really subtle but when there’s reach there’s reliance on things outside of you, such as pills, food, audio meditations, etc… your subconscious focus is on the possibility of not sleeping, lowering sleep confidence.
We don’t “happen” to sleep, sleep “happens” to us.
Modern life creates distance between us and the sleep that happens to us, so we reach. Balancing however with the inside out approach, using your own means such as breathing, stabilization, and even spiritual practices, closes that gap so that you can receive relaxation and sleep becomes passive.
Without this distinction, an approach to sleep is aggressive and conditional. I know it’s a delicate distinction but as an insomniac, if what you put in your mind and body before bed is not grounded to confidence, this has enormous implications on your identity as a sleeper and identity is everything. Insomnia is emotionally debilitating when you’re convinced you have done everything possible but still can’t fall asleep. It feels as if you’ve been handcuffed to this destiny. This doesn’t have to be the case. As long as you can evolve to new paradigms, you can connect to sleep. I can personally assure you of that.
This approach isn’t magic, it’s art. It’s a new paradigm for insomniacs. Sleep is healed when a healthy lifestyle matches up with new paradigms. You can create your own paradigm using your own distinctions or you can use the ones I share in the Art of Falling Asleep. Either way, it’s still art and you’re the artist capable of making this work for your sleep.
Don’t let insomnia hold you back any longer, if you would like support creating your own sleep art, I can help you with that.
Contact me here to schedule a time and space to talk. Loving you and your sleep! -Derek