Exhausted and Still Can’t Sleep?
By Mike Bundrant, retired psychotherapist and co-founder of Healthy Times Newspaper
It seems paradoxical, but it’s true. It is possible to be utterly exhausted, yet unable to sleep. Such is the case with millions around the world. An estimated 60 million Americans suffer from insomnia each year (npr.org). “Tired and wired” is a common way these unfortunate insomniacs refer to themselves.
The side effects of insomnia are unstable moods, mental fog, anxiety and depression as well as a greater tendency toward more serious illness such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Amazingly, the dangers of insomnia can begin after just one sleepless night. (Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley).
The Cause of Insomnia
How does the body end up in such a predicament? As with every other physiological function, it begins in the brain. Medical researchers have identified via MRI studies a network in the brain, the Default Mode Network, which is responsible for the inner commotion that prevents the mind and body from settling into natural sleep. This neurological network has been scientifically correlated (Block, Ho, and Nakamura, 2009) to what Stanley H. Block, MD refers to as the Identity System (I-system). It is this part of our brain that is responsible for creating our individual perception of separateness from other people and the environment.
When the I-system is overactive, our brain takes this separateness to an extreme, restricting our awareness to those aspects that lead to mental and emotional isolation: worry, fear, conflict, anger, and all manner of emotional ills. The I-system also leads to a cluttered mind that spins endlessly on our to-do lists, chronically mulls over problems, dreams of solutions and essentially holds our body hostage in a never-ending spiral of activity and bodily tensions. Sleep is impossible under these circumstances.
The Bridge to Sleep
Sleep does come naturally when the I-System is at rest. The key, according to Dr. Block, for most modern day, urbanized and stressed out people is to learn to quiet this part of the brain. The only methodology proven to do so is Mind-Body Bridging. Clinically proven through university sponsored research (Salt Lake City VA/University of Utah/clinicaltrials.gov), Mind-Body Bridging helps 90% of insomniacs to sleep, an unprecedented success rate among sleep studies.
Beyond Restful Sleep
A two-month follow up study of participants also showed decreased symptoms of depression and higher scores on a quality of life scale, suggesting that Mind-Body Bridging goes beyond restoring sleep, but also aids in healing other physical and emotional elements.
Where is all this headed? “We’ll see,” said Dr. Block. “Further research is scheduled and more analysis is warranted. The preliminary results of our insomnia research are very exciting. It’s nice to put a medication free, supplement free, natural sleep remedy on the map that is actually backed by independent scientific research.”