Aw, Gawd, why can’t I get to sleep? Why do I wake in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep? What is it that makes my mind race along as soon as my head hits the pillow? Why can other people sleep through hurricanes and I can’t? Many of us have heard these questions ringing from somewhere inside our heads from time to time. For some of us, these questions seem to have become an ingrained habit as we fight long-term or occasional insomnia and other sleep problems. For others of us, we don’t process these questions in this way, and just simply ‘know’ that we’ve not slept well, always feeling tired and worn out.
So let's have a think about the "why" factor..
Just as we should look at the possible physical or organic causes of all mental and emotional symptoms, we should also be aware that many symptoms are driven only by unconscious or subconscious dynamics. And that we often do not consciously know those causes. Mental health (or more correctly, mental illness) gets a lot of professional press these days, much to the detriment of any focus on insomnia and the mental illness issues it can cause.
But more recently, researchers are discovering that insomnia and other sleep maladaptions are playing a direct part in the rise of deep depression in our culture, particularly with adolescents. So, maybe it’s time we realized that there’s more to the idea of apparent and observable symptoms in mental health being caused by non-observable underlying emotional problems – or in some cases mere emotional habits.
In many years of practice, I have seen people whose only problem in life is their problems around sleeping. As the title pic above says, I've even seen some who describe themselves as "serial insomniacs". But while they claim that insomnia is their only issue, it has to come from somewhere, wouldn't we agree? These are people who say that there's nothing physical or organic that's causing the problem, and they can't think of anything emotional that might be causing it. So I ask them, if it's not subconscious and it's not physical or environmental, why don't they simply consciously think themselves to sleep? This, of course, is a glib and rhetoric question to an often serious problem; but it gets close to the mark. Never a truer word said in jest.
If there is no known physical cause for sleep deprivation, and we can’t demand of our mind that it shut down and go to sleep, then there’s nothing else for it; the problem must be driven by subconscious causes – anxiety, worry, stress, and even guilt may be contributing factors. Not to be sexist, but most men don’t want to admit anything other than they can’t get to sleep – or they can’t get BACK to sleep after waking in the middle of the night – because of environmental factors. And by that we mean those things that are going on in life that cause stress and worry that are not their fault! Let’s blame it on the bladder! Maybe not their fault, but we humans have learned to react to those environmental stress factors in certain individual emotional ways that produce these sleep problems.
As an affectologist and Af-x practitioner, I am not overly fond of New Age or ‘alternative’ ideas posing as explanations, but in this case, I have a favorite saying that “dreams and sleep problems are a window to what’s going on at a subconscious level.” If we understand this, then we must understand that the best way to treat those problems is not to just ‘take the pills’, or to try to deal with the problem itself, but to deal with whatever is driving the problem. And in the world of the affectologist, we know that trying to uncover – to find out – what that underlying problem is, is most often fruitless, and often flawed as a means to change the dynamics. We must make changes to how we have learned to react and respond to stress triggers and discomfort in our lives.
Af-x is a system of therapeutic balancing focusing only on affect, or internally-registered emotional patterning. As a consequence of the affect re-learning that is the core of the Af-x approach, it is very common for clients to experience positive change to any number of symptomatic issues as a result of deep-seated emotional changes for the better. An example of this (and there have been many such examples) can be seen in a review message from Charles P. who offered this quip, months after therapy had successfully concluded. He wrote, “I came to Af-x because of my anxiety around my job. At the time it was stressful and demanding. It’s still stressful and demanding, but I handle all that with ease now. When I went for my sessions, I didn’t even think about all my sleepless nights. But since that time, I now sleep like a baby, and maybe too much. Maybe I should come back and get you to wake me up!”
Of course, this was a joke, but it highlights the fact that our sleep problems, if they are not physically caused, are part of our whole inner world that we call our subconscious emotional (feeling) make-up. Resolve the subconscious emotional imbalance, and all else is influenced and improved upon.
Even though we live in a culture that is increasingly concerned ONLY in the symptoms – the outer expression – these problems of insomnia, sleep deprivation and “sleep interruption” don’t live alone. Nor are the problems of depression, bipolar, stress and anxiety. They are part of a family of dynamics that are, in turn, part of our learned affect (emotional response) personality.