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DESPERATELY SEEKING
SNOOZIN'

THE INSOMNIA CURE

FROM AWAKE TO ZZZZZ

By John Wiedman

Towering Pines Press, Inc.
Memphis, Tennessee


Note to Readers

     I began writing this book in mid-October, 1997. I had started a program to cure my insomnia the first week in October, and I could already tell that the steps I was taking were working better than I could have ever imagined. I completed my first draft at the end of 1997. I had always felt as though the solution I used to cure my insomnia might be beneficial to others with the same problem. Even with this belief, I had a hard time letting others view my work, as I had never written anything in my life. My family, who had been somewhat skeptical about my writing the book initially, thought I had done a pretty good job. I was still reluctant to let anyone else see the paper.  Finally, I broke down and gave a copy to a friend who happens to be both an insomniac and a doctor. I have always had the greatest respect for him and knew that if he liked my manuscript, I might be on to something. I was pleasantly surprised when he gave me some encouragement to have the work published.
     I now had the nerve to send the paper to others. I gave three copies to other physician friends and several other copies to people that I knew to have insomnia. I also gave copies to friends and acquaintances who had heard me talking about the book and requested a copy. Additionally, I sent the manuscript to a handful of insomnia sufferers that I found on the Internet who agreed to give me written feedback after reading the paper. One of my concerns when I wrote the book was that others would find the sections dealing with my personal experiences boring. Instead, I discovered that most of the insomniacs found it somewhat fascinating to read about someone who had suffered through some of the same problems they had. Some of the readers had more severe insomnia, some said theirs wasn't as bad, but most saw at least a little of themselves in the book. I discuss some of their comments in the "Feedback" chapter toward the end of the book.
     On the other hand, I was concerned that the doctors would feel as though I was taking unfair shots at the medical community for the lack of knowledge most primary physicians have had in dealing with insomnia. The feedback from the doctors, or at least the way I interpreted it, was also positive, with some saying they would have no problem recommending the book to their patients.
     One of the doctors directed me to an article in the December 24, 1997, edition of The Journal of the American Medical Association pertaining to the use of sleeping pills for chronic insomnia. The following are some highlights from the article:

  • Recent estimates are that 10% of the adults in the United States (approximately 25 million people) have chronic insomnia, with the annual cost for its treatment estimated at $10.9 billion. (I have seen estimates as high as $64 billion annually when on-the-job accidents and lost productivity are taken into consideration.)
  • Individuals with chronic insomnia report elevated levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and medical illnesses and demonstrate interpersonal and occupational impairments when compared with good sleepers.
  • There is a risk factor for the development of major depression when insomnia extends over a one year period.
  • Studies indicate that untreated chronic insomnia does not remit with time.
  • Medication treatments for insomnia predominate over behavioral ones with the frequency of treatment reflected in the observation that prescription sleeping pills are used by 4% (I have seen other estimates up to 5%) of the population in a given year and 0.4% of the population use sleeping pills for more than a year. (In other articles I have seen estimates that up to 25% of the population in the United States took some sort of chemical to help them sleep in 1996, mainly alcohol and over-the-counter sleep aids.)
  • Benzodiazepines are the most common class of medications for treating insomnia with adverse effects including daytime sedation, motor incoordination, and cognitive impairments. Long term use carries the additional risks of physical dependence, withdrawal, and rebound insomnia.
  • From 1987-1991, clinicians decreased prescriptions of benzodiazepines by 30% and increased prescriptions of antidepressants (trazodone hydrochloride, amitriptyline hydrochloride, doxepine hydrochloride) by 100%. There are few studies of antidepressants used as hypnotics, and these medications can have their own adverse effects.
  • The National Institutes of Health Consensus Conference on Sleeping Pills and Insomnia in 1984 developed guidelines discouraging the use of sedative hypnotics beyond 4 to 6 weeks because of concerns raised over drug misuse, dependency, withdrawal, and rebound insomnia.

     In 1988 Congress created the National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research to conduct a comprehensive study of the status of current knowledge and research on sleep disorders. In January, 1993, the Commission delivered its report, Wake Up America: A National Sleep Alert, to Congress. The report, made available by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, includes the following findings:

  • Frequent or chronic insomnia, estimated to affect more than 60 million Americans, about one in every three adults, is a severe problem for approximately half of those individuals.
  • The insomnias cost the United States an estimated $15.4 billion in direct costs alone. Additional costs to society for such consequences as lost worker productivity and accidents have never been calculated. Moreover, the contribution of sleep disorders to such serious problems as heart disease and stroke, which kill and debilitate thousands each year, has not been quantified.
  • Chronic insomniacs reported 2.5 times as many fatigue-related automobile accidents than did non-insomniacs, according to a survey in 1991.
  • The same survey documents serious morbidity (relating to disease) associated with untreated sleep complaints, as well as diminished ability to concentrate, memory impairment, failure to accomplish daily tasks, and interpersonal difficulties.
  • In the real world, the consequences include learning impairments, discord in interpersonal relationships, errors, and accidents.
  • Sleepy individuals are less ambitious and less productive. Sleep loss impairs performance on cognitive tasks involving memory, learning logical reasoning, arithmetic calculations, pattern recognition, complex verbal processing, and decision making.
  • The Commission received abundant evidence that insomnia can have devastating effects on the careers and personal lives of those afflicted.
  • Individuals who report sleeping six hours or less a night experienced poorer health than those sleeping seven to eight hours per night. Moreover, a nine-year follow-up study found that individuals sleeping fewer than six hours each night had a 70 percent higher mortality rate in comparison to those who slept seven or eight hours a night.
  • Forty percent of insomniacs reported the use of either over-the-counter medications or alcohol in an inappropriate attempt to alleviate their sleep problems.
  • Patients may engage in self-medication of their sleep disturbances, using alcohol or sedative-hypnotic drugs, leading to further disruption in the sleep-wake cycle and deepening depression.
  • For women over the age of forty, the prevalence of insomnia may be 40 percent or higher. Given the data suggesting that insomnia may be prodromal (a precursor) for depression, sleep disturbances could play an important role in mood disorders among older women.
  • Twelve million Americans suffer from depression, resulting in annual costs to our society of $10 billion per year. Sleep plays an important role in the onset, course, and treatment of this very prevalent and painful illness.

     I found the response to my book from those that knew me very interesting. Even though most were aware of my insomnia, few had any idea of the impact it had on my day to day life. I read that insomniacs somehow muster enough energy to appear to others to be feeling satisfactory. After all, most of us are not hospitalized. There are no cuts or bruises or even bandages or casts to show an outward appearance of trouble. Even though we might have bags under our eyes from lack of sleep, who doesn't? And while some of us complain about not feeling well, others have their problems too. The following statements came from the previously cited Commission report:

  • This problem (undiagnosed sleep disorders) is greatly compounded by the absence of public awareness of the profound effects sleep disorders and disturbance(s) may have on the conduct of daily life.
  • Perhaps because insomnia is such a pervasive problem, it appears to be accepted as a normal part of life. However, the Commission received abundant evidence that insomnia can have devastating effects on the careers and personal lives of those afflicted.
  • The Commission estimates that 95 percent of patients with sleep disorders remain undiagnosed. The cost of these untreated sleep disorders is astronomical in terms of reduced quality of life, lower productivity in school and the workplace, increased morbidity and mortality, and the loss of life due to accidents caused by excessive sleepiness.
  • A national survey of 1,105 randomly selected adults reported that, of those who suffered a sleep complaint for seven or more nights each month, 42 percent had never discussed their sleep with a physician.

     When the insomniac does discuss his condition with a physician, he is usually his primary care physician. Consider the following findings from the Commission report (Please remember this report was released in 1993 with one of the emphases being to increase education of sleep disorders in the medical community. I have to think there has been improvement since the time of this report.):

  • When the family physician does not recognize or lightly dismisses a sleep problem, the patient is not likely to press the matter.
  • Despite the fact that insomnia is the most common sleep complaint, few physicians know how to diagnose and treat insomnia appropriately.
  • According to a 1991 Gallop Poll, physicians failed to diagnose, or even identify, one in three adults who suffers with insomnia.
  • A common thread ran throughout the diverse Commission testimony: victims of sleep disorders often described years of frustration, incorrect diagnoses and treatments, multiple referrals to specialists, unnecessary tests, and even institutionalization.
  • A national survey of 1,105 randomly selected adults reported that, of those who had seen a physician, nearly three-quarters said their doctor did not ask about their sleep.
  • A 1978 study found that fewer than 10 percent of the nation's medical schools provided any education in the area of sleep medicine. A dozen years later, the Commission sponsored a national survey of medical school teaching of sleep and sleep disorders. The study concluded that, while the field has sustained a modest increase in the total number of hours allocated to teaching about sleep and sleep disorders since 1978, a significant number of medical schools still provide little or no time for study in this area.

     So, what does all of this information tell us? There are a great number of people with sleep problems costing billions of dollar to this country. Many of these people are trying to treat themselves incorrectly or are seeking advice from a medical community that is ill prepared to help.

     Placed throughout the text you will find actual postings I have gathered from Internet discussion groups. Most of the postings came from areas designated for sleep disorders, but a few came from other sites. The authors of the posts are from all over the world. I hope you enjoy the inclusion of these remarks. I had never met or talked with any of the parties when they posted the comments. Their posts do not list names or e-mail addresses unless the author specifically requested the information to be included. The posts have not been edited for the most part. If there has been something edited, it was not for the purpose of changing the intent of the post. I also removed a few words that might be offensive to some readers. The remarks appear as they did on the Internet complete with spelling and grammatical errors. I do not want to imply that the statements are made by experts or that the information in them is true. In most cases there is no way of verifying the qualifications of the author nor the accuracy of the text. Anyone can post a comment, and anyone can respond. The information might be written by a sleep professional or by someone who is relating incorrect information. I find the postings very interesting, much like an electronic version of graffiti.


 Introduction

     I was becoming pretty excited. I had discovered a way to cure my insomnia. I felt that I could write a book which could help others do the same thing. Knowing that I would really have to struggle with the actual writing, I was nonetheless committed. I knew with my family's help, I could overcome my lack of writing ability. Never mind the grammatical errors, we could correct those. I was more concerned about coming up with coherent sentences that would convey my enthusiasm as well as the actual solution.

     My in-laws were in town for the Thanksgiving holidays. Rhonda, my wife, had told them about the miraculous turnaround in my sleep patterns. My father-in-law, never one to mince words, was less than impressed with the idea that I was going to write a book. "What are you going to do, tell them to go to bed and shut their eyes?" After silently thanking him for his constructive criticism, I figured, "What does he know?" He's one of those guys that all of us insomniacs hate, one who say things like, "Well, no, I never have any trouble sleeping. I just lie down and the next thing I know, it's time to get up. Yeah, I go to bed at 10:30 and get up at six every morning. I couldn't sleep late if I wanted. No, I never have anything really bother me when I lie down. Like I said, when it's time to go to sleep, that's what I do."

I can remember the first time I had to go to sleep. Mom said, "Steven, time to go to sleep." I said, "But I don't know how." She said, "It's real easy. Just go down to the end of tired and hang a left." So I went down to the end of tired, and just out of curiosity, I hung a right. My mother was there, and she said, "I thought I told you to go to sleep." -Steven Wright

     Well Pop, my father-in-law, may not remember that he also had a fairly severe case of insomnia once when he changed jobs. But, in reality, I should not have thought so badly of him. I am going to try to do exactly what Pop said...help you to go to bed and shut your eyes and go to sleep....all night, without medication. And instead of wondering why he is so lucky to sleep every night, maybe you and I can learn from those that sleep so well rather than asking ourselves, "Why me?"


 Warning!!

     Please be advised that reading the following can and will be extremely habit forming, resulting in nightly recurrences of extreme drowsiness followed by a state of suspended consciousness, better known as sleep. Do not read the following unless you truly want to cure your insomnia and can tolerate the side effects of regular nightly sleep. You have seen all the articles and books and have heard all the things you need to do to sleep better, and, you are convinced, these things just don't work for you. If you seriously want to end your sleepless nights, I want you to take the time to read the following material and follow the easy steps to improve your sleep. If you are starting this with the outlook that there is nothing that can help you, stop right now. Pull it out again when you have yelled at your children just because you are totally fatigued from no sleep. Pull it out because you did not go to work today after getting two hours sleep the night before. Pull it out because you didn't have the energy to go to your little girl's dance recital. Or pull it out because, even though you did everything you were supposed to do and got through the day, it just wasn't any good. Life isn't meant to be like this.  The information contained herein absolutely works, but I need your help also.  So, if you are ready, settle back and let's take care of your problem. Otherwise, see you in a couple of weeks.

Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.
-Rudyard Kipling

 

     This book will help you with many insomnia problems. You need to consult with your physician to determine whether or not your insomnia has an underlying cause. A breathing problem during the night such as sleep apnea or the use of certain prescription medications are among several factors that can cause sleeping problems. This book is for you if you feel you have ruled out everything else and know that sleeping pills are not the answer.


Part I

THE PROBLEM

You are not alone. You will recognize the story and the symptoms
in the following section.


CHAPTER ONE

It's Back
(or Night of the Living Dead... and the Next Day)

     It's 3:30 a.m. You can't believe it. This is the third night in a row that you have not been to sleep before 4:00 a.m. You have been in and out of bed all night. When you get up, you watch TV on the couch in the den. Within minutes you find yourself dozing and return to bed only to become wide awake once again. Sleep is so close, and then it eludes you. And the more you worry about it, the harder it is to fall asleep. Your meeting tomorrow is very important and you need to be at your best. There is nothing in your life more disruptive or frustrating. Because of your insomnia, you worry about your mental and physical well-being.
     You know somewhere there is an answer, but the answer must lie on some greater level than mortal man can understand. The options are simple. The Lord can either answer your prayers, or you can cut a deal with the devil. If you are praying, please continue. (I know my youngest child used to pray for his daddy to sleep better. My wife used to have her prayer group remember me and my problem.) If you are nearing a deal with the devil, cut off all negotiations at this time. I am about to share the answer that will help you get rid of your insomnia.
     You know that later today you will feel wasted, and, as a result, your productivity will be below par. This is not fair to you or your employer. But you have tried everything in the world including sleeping pills. Nothing works. All that you are sure of is that this problem will probably be with you again tonight, or, if not tonight, then the next night. And even if it goes away, it will return after a short respite. You would go to a sleep disorder clinic, but you know there is nothing physically wrong with you, and you do not want prescribed sleeping medication or to be referred to a psychologist for evaluation. Aren't the people with mental problems the ones who go to psychologists? There is nothing mentally wrong with you. Besides you have neither the time nor the money to go. Therapy probably wouldn't work anyway.
     It is now 4:00 p.m. Somehow you made it through the day. You were so exhausted you were unable to do any productive work, but you did make it to the meeting. You should not get fired, at least not for failing to attend the meeting. Never mind the fact that you were so tired you neglected to finish the proposal that was due today for your most important client. Never mind the fact that your insomnia-induced fatigue, demonstrated in your job performance, is preventing you from being promoted. Today was about survival only. If you can just sleep well tonight, you will get back on track at work tomorrow....hopefully.
     Earlier, at lunch today, you fought the urge to go home and take a nap. With a nap you might have been able to be more functional during the afternoon, but you knew better. A nap just would have made things worse. Tonight you and your spouse have been invited by some friends to go out to dinner and a movie. Both of you have been looking forward to this. You dread calling your spouse and telling her once again that you are too tired to go out. All you want to do is go home and crash. You are going to have to cancel the racquetball match with your friends after work also. You always have fun with them, but not today. Life is supposed to be better than this. Much better.
     It is now 10:00 p.m. When you first arrived home, you were so sleepy that you thought about taking a nap again. You could have been asleep in two seconds. But you have been there and done that. You knew if you took a nap, your sleep tonight would be worse than the last several nights. As usual, dinner did somewhat revive you. Between 7:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., although you were still worn out, you felt more alert than you had all day. You had some interaction with your family, but mainly you were tired and irritable. You also realize that, when you feel this tired, you seem to eat more than normal. It's as though your willpower has been suppressed along with the rest of your energy supply, so you end up compounding your overall problems by eating too much. You are physically and mentally exhausted and know that it is critical that you get a good night's sleep. As bedtime approaches you become more anxious knowing you will probably end up tossing and turning once again, repeating the same ritual from hell that you have faced most nights recently. How can you be so tired and still unable to sleep? You need help and you need it right now. There has got to be an answer.
     11:00 p.m. You know the drill. As tired as you feel, you are becoming certain that tonight will be no different from the last several. You decide to try to lie down hoping that you are wrong and will find sleep tonight. As a matter of fact, you feel yourself getting really sleepy after laying your head on the pillow. You are almost there. Then POW! You are wide awake again. Exhausted, but wide awake. Perhaps you even dozed off for a minute or two. But the cycle continues. You cannot continue to live like this. "What is the answer?"


Subject: NEED SLEEP! From: issamk@julian.uwo.ca (Issam Kobrsi) Date: Tue, Feb 10, 1998 10:21 EST Message-id: *

I NEED SLEEP!!!!! In the past 4 months I'm averaging less than 10 hours of sleep a week. It is really disturbing me!!! All night laying in bed all I can think of is getting to sleep but my eyes don't even shut for a second! I't getting me frustrated and during the day I'm a walking time bomb ready to snap at someone, anyone! I am missing most of my morning classes because of this. when I finally fall asleep at 6:30 there's no way in hell I'm getting up by 7:30! HELP!! what should I do?? sleeping pills? I'll do anything to get a good night sleep.


Awake until 4am Posted by * on December 13, 1997 at 23:48:34:

Hi all, I don't know if I am in the right place- but it was recomended that I come talk to you. I am awake until 4am or 5am every night these days and since I have to be up for work at 8am this is causing a lot of problems. I have tried cutting out caffee, excersizing more ( albeit half heartedly) and staying up all night to see if I just need to break the cycle. Nothing is helping me much. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Any advice or thoughts? i am so tired I feel like I have the flu all the time. Any help would be appreciated. ( Oh yeah, I have been given Xanex which helps but then I can't get out of bed to go to work. A real problem too.… )


 

CHAPTER TWO

My Credentials

     Let me introduce myself. My name is John Wiedman. I am a mortgage broker with a degree in finance from the University of Memphis. I am forty-eight years old. I live in Memphis, TN. I do not have a Ph.D. specializing in clinical psychology from some big name university. I have not been in charge of a center for sleep disturbances for the last fifteen years. I am, however, a professional insomniac (or at least I was until recently). I have had regular bouts of chronic insomnia for more than ten years and sleep problems for much longer than that. I can help you rid yourself of insomnia. And although I am not much of a writer, I will try to present this information as effectively as possible. I am writing this from the perspective of an insomniac. I have found the answer to my insomnia, and I will do my best to convey to you the steps you need to take to treat yours.

     I am not attempting to circumvent your relationship with the medical community. This book is for those of you that have already talked with your doctor, and nothing short of sleeping pills will provide even temporary relief. My assistance is directed at those of you that have fallen into regular routines of insomnia and need to learn the solution to your problem. I think this book should also help those of you that have recently developed insomnia by showing you how to prevent your problem from becoming more chronic.

     If you have not already told your doctor about your sleeping problem, you need to do so. As I stated earlier, your insomnia may be caused by some other reason such as an existing medication or sleep apnea, and he may be able to help. Have him help you rule out any obvious reasons for your insomnia. If you feel you are currently addicted to a sleep medication, work with your doctor to wean yourself off the medicine. Tell your doctor you are going to read this book. If he is skeptical about any of its contents, have him read the book. It is not very long. I would appreciate it if you have him buy his own copy. I need all the sales I can get. Otherwise, use this book. It will provide you with the tools to help treat your insomnia without any medication or herbs or alcohol.

    While your initial insomnia may have been caused by any number of reasons, now your insomnia is more than likely a habit you have formed that is comparable to biting your fingernails. And, unless you are currently taking a sleep medication and have formed an addiction, eliminating insomnia from your life is going to be easier than quitting tobacco or any other addictive substance. But while biting your fingernails may be an annoying habit resulting in unattractive nails, insomnia can wreck the quality of your life. There will be no unpleasant withdrawal symptoms like there are when you quit smoking. Everything that results will be positive. In my case, I slept much better from the first night, with only one really bad night in the first thirty. I cannot begin to tell you how absolutely remarkable that was. I had just come out of a cycle where, for three nights out of five, I was awake until four or five o'clock in the morning. At most I may have dozed sporadically before the time I finally went to sleep. The next day I would be absolutely worn out, unable to concentrate for any significant period of time. Needless to say, my irritability was a real pleasure for my family. I was upset. Why me? I knew there were many others who had sleeping problems like me, but why were we singled out to suffer? And not only was I too tired to work efficiently, I was lucky to get any work done at all. The only thing that kept me going was pure adrenaline. When I slept this poorly, I found it almost impossible to muster the energy to exercise, further compounding the overall problem. Additionally, I was canceling out of social functions with my wife, children, and friends, again due to my fatigue. In other words, any semblance of a normal lifestyle was gone. And the good nights weren't much better, but at least I sometimes got four or five hours of sleep. I may have awakened several times, but the quantity was better.
     Being a professional insomniac, you can rest assured that I have experienced almost everything that you have...the worry, the frustration, the anger, the prayers, the endless late night infomercials (whatever happened to the hair in a spray can?). I know every psychic or promote-a-psychic from Kenny Kingston to Dionne Warwick to Sylvester Stallone's mother to the guy with the white brillo pad on his head...if you have seen him, you know who I mean. I have also been enticed by all shapes, sizes, and colors of women from around the world willing to share their most intimate secrets. Want any information regarding abdominal machines, juice machines, or losing weight? I'm the man to see. I know whom to see to make a fortune in direct marketing or real estate. I never did see the one middle-of-the-night infomercial that I thought was a natural: how to cure insomnia. After all, who do they think is watching in the middle of the night?
     I know what it is like to toss and turn and get in and out of bed all night watching the clock go slowly from midnight to 5:00 a.m. Why me? As I lay in bed for hours, my mind would race with thoughts about the employee I must discipline tomorrow, or I would get madder over something one of my children had or had not done. I have lain in bed for hours with seemingly nothing occupying my thoughts, still not falling asleep. I have gotten up and watched television all night. I have gotten up and read all night. I have gotten up and worked or straightened my office or played on the computer, you name it. I have drifted off to sleep only to awaken within minutes and not go back to sleep. I have slept for a couple of hours only to awaken and never get back to sleep again. And I have done it night after night after night. Trust me, I have gone through just about anything that you have, maybe worse. And, is it just me, or has anyone else ever noticed that it is harder to sleep when there is a full moon?


full moon Posted by * on April 11, 1998 at 23:47:35:

anyone else have trouble sleeping on nights when there is a full moon?


     I have tried sleeping pills, antidepressants for sleeping purposes, melatonin, warm milk, exercise in the late afternoon, exercise in the morning, exercise in the evening, sleep clinics, over-the-counter medications (including aspirin, Advil, Benadryl, Nyquil), hot baths, a glass of wine, one or more stiff drinks, "white noise", soft music, TV on, total darkness, night lights, and both the presence and absence of a clock in the bedroom. I have stopped smoking, don't drink coffee, have gone to caffeine-free drinks, and don't take afternoon naps. My wife and I went from a queen size bed to a king size with a firmer mattress. I have used a heating pad and tried sleeping in different positions. If I could not fall asleep, I would get out of bed rather than staying there tossing and turning. Nothing stopped my insomnia-until now.


Re: insomnia, melatonin

Posted by * on October 09, 1997 at 12:41:19:

In Reply to: Re: insomnia, melatonin posted by on October 05, 1997 at 20:59:21:

I have a friend that has tried everything: melatonin, warm milk, sleeping pills, leaving the room after sleeplessness, etc. Lately he has been taking sleeping pills out of desperation. He says his stress level is normal.


Subject: Re:Insomnia{Sleepless in Boston} From: (Rac) Date: 1997/03/19 Message-ID: *

hi All: Yesterday, I purchased a bottle of Valerian Root capsules. I took 4 last night{475mg each}, per suggestion of clerk, no sleep! Does this Root take time to get into one's system, or does it simply not work for me? Is the "herb" route for some, and not for others? Melatonin does nothing for me either. Any advice on overcoming insomnia woukd be greatly appreciated, especially since it's been going on for years! I've done the sleep labs, clinics, Drs. ect!

Thanks in advance!! Ron


     Depending on my frustration level at any particular time, I would pull out my books and read everything I could get my hands on regarding insomnia. I have symptoms of several classifications of insomnia, caused by several types of stimuli. I have trouble falling asleep as well as staying asleep. My mind races, my mind doesn't race. I have stress, anxiety, and depression (Who wouldn't, with no restful sleep?). I have restless legs syndrome (RLS), periodic leg movements (leg myoclonus-PLMS), night eating disorder, conditioned insomnia, Sunday-night insomnia, my circadian rhythms are screwed up, and now, as I am growing older, I am being told my sleep is not going to be as restful as it was when I was younger. WELL, THAT'S JUST GREAT!!! And don't even get me started right now on sleeping medications or the sleep clinic that costs hundreds of dollars. The doctors at the sleep clinic prescribed a medication for anxiety saying that I was a type A personality. Thanks, but no thanks!

Insomnia is a gross feeder. It will nourish itself on any kind of thinking including thinking about not thinking. -Clifton Fadiman


CHAPTER THREE

I Did It, So Can You

     There was one thing that I always thought about during those many wasted hours. I was going to figure out a way to beat the monster. I would lie there and be so tired and so close to going to sleep, and the monster would grab me again just as I was dozing off. Why me? What have I done to deserve this? Insomnia has literally cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars. Because of my sleeping problems, I left a very good job to work out of my home so that I would not be tied to a schedule. I have done satisfactorily, but nothing like I was doing before. Since that time I have been presented with several opportunities for employment that no normal person would ever have rejected. "Yes, I will be happy to start on Monday. By the way, occasionally I have nights (about 3-4 a week) where I don't sleep very well, and I don't function quite as efficiently as you might like me to. Don't worry though, if I don't get to sleep by 5:00 a.m., I have a rule that I just call in sick". Because of my insomnia, I wouldn't even schedule a haircut appointment until 10:30 in the morning. If I had to attend an early morning meeting the next day (before 10:00), I slept even worse worrying about getting up on time. And how great did I feel when my wife told my son that Dad would not be coming to his early morning soccer game because he did not sleep well last night? Again, all of this has now changed.

When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. -Franklin D. Roosevelt

     I always told myself that when I did figure out a way to beat my insomnia, I would take my knowledge and help others. When I was awake at three in the morning, absolutely exhausted, with sleep nowhere in sight, I used to look for something that would just push me over the top....sleep was so close, yet so far. There had to be a way. Well, glory, glory, hallelujah! The day has come. I want to share with you the peace of mind that I have found. Don't let anyone tell you that you will never sleep normally again because I am living proof that you can. Don't let anyone tell you because of your age that you will never have a good night's sleep without a sleeping aid because you can.
     Let me tell you about my sleep last night. First of all, I have now been "cured" for seven weeks, and it keeps getting better. Last night I went to bed at midnight, ready for sleep. Before my "cure", I would have been dreading the time when I finally had to lie in bed and attempt to go to sleep. Last night I had to struggle just to make it to bedtime. I fell asleep almost immediately. I woke up once, thought about getting up, decided not to, and slept the remainder of the night until 7:00 a.m. Can I hear an "amen"? Can you even remember what a night like that is like? I cannot honestly remember a night like that in over ten years, unless I had taken a sleeping pill. Then I felt somewhat hung over the next day. Compared to my sleep in the preceding months, I have had only three marginally bad nights in the last seven weeks. My bad nights now are comparable to or better than my best nights before. Many nights I go to sleep within minutes and only wake up two or three times. I may get out of bed once or twice. Again, last night I never got out of bed and only woke up once, resulting in a refreshing seven hours of sleep.
     Why should you listen to a mortgage broker with a degree in finance? Your doctor has not been able to help you other than to give some general advice and maybe prescribe a sleeping pill as a short term solution. Why should you listen to me when you know someone that has gone to a sleep clinic staffed by sleep specialists and still has a problem sleeping? Why should you come to me when there are stacks of books and articles on the subject of insomnia written by sleep experts with better credentials than I have? Well, as I told you, I am a professional insomniac. I have the advantage of on-the-job training as well as having read many articles and books on sleep disorders over the last few years.
     Before my "cure", I had reached a point where I had started skimming recent articles for some new breakthrough that might help me, instead of reading the complete story. Most of the information was usually a retread of something I had read before. There are many good tips and suggestions that come from those books and articles, which I have incorporated into the cure that worked for me. There are also many suggestions that, in my opinion, are superficial. To me, the tips on sleeping better are somewhat analogous to all the tips I used to get on my golf game. To correct my problems in golf, I would think about how to grip the club, the correct backswing, how to hold my head, keeping my left arm straight, the proper follow-through, and on and on and on. No wonder I never hit the ball well! There were too many thoughts going through my head. A good golfer does not have twenty thoughts going through his head as he addresses and strikes the ball. His body moves naturally and freely, resulting in a ball well struck. Sure, he makes minor corrections from time to time, but his mind is not breaking down each segment of his swing on each stroke. Likewise, a good sleeper should probably do exactly what my father- in-law said. A good sleeper goes to bed on time, shuts his eyes, goes to sleep, and wakes up the next morning feeling refreshed. I am going to help you make a few minor adjustments in your sleep routine so that you can also achieve natural free-flowing sleep.
     You probably have read some of these same articles and books. You have seen the special reports on television that tease you with help for insomnia but never deliver. Is there good information in the articles you have read or in the reports you have seen on television? Of course there is. But they really didn't help your problem with insomnia, did they? Most of what I will tell you came from a combination of my personal experiences as well as personal research. But the end result was only achieved through trial and error. I am going to present the information to you in such a way that you will see the steps necessary to treat your insomnia...without drugs, without a costly visit to the sleep clinic, and without going to a psychologist. I will present the information and the solution to you from someone who really understands what you are going through and show you how to overcome the little problems along the way.

Change your thoughts and you change your world.
-Norman Vincent Peale

 


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