More than 60 million Americans suffer from primary insomnia. The NIH has concluded that insomnia is now at an epidemic level.
Primary insomnia is a sleep disorder not due to a medical, psychiatric, or environmental cause. In simple terms, it is the inability to either fall asleep and/or stay asleep two or more times per week. It’s generally self-induced, a by-product of our modern lives. Our culture is simply too wired, and for far too many people, the price is paid in the stark quiet of the long, restless night, then paid again, as we slog through the day.
“Sleep” is a massive industry. More than seven billion dollars are spent annually on ‘taking some- thing to sleep’. Billions more are spent on mattresses and sleep aids. Yet, the rate of insomnia in America continues to rise year over year. Clearly, something is not working. I have a theory.
As we move through our hectic day we attract and collect stress like lint to a lint brush. Its tacky nature sticks to us, congesting the normal functions of our body, mind and spirit ... ultimately messing with sleep.
In my sleep wellness workshops, I teach an insomnia cessation process that clears these sleep-robbing stress barriers, allowing the body and mind to turn off the over-worked stress response and turn on the all- important relaxation response. Without this critical transition our tired bodies shut down, but our minds do not shut off ... which invariably leads to disrupted and unsatisfying sleep.
My process is multi-dimensional in terms of technique, but there is one aspect, one element, that serves as my secret sauce, the magic wand, and the engine behind breaking the vicious cycle of insomnia. It is the crafting, polishing and practicing of ‘an attitude gratitude’ at bedtime.
Our hectic, list-driven lives fuel insomnia, giving it shape and texture. Practicing gratitude is stress kryptonite - proven biologically to shut down cortisol while turning up serotonin production. It is literally impossible for stress to exist in a well-practiced attitude of gratitude. For a better night’s sleep try this: the next time you are getting ready for bed, before you find yourself tossing and turning, try saying thank you before saying good night. Sweet dreams.