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Sleep and TMS

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021), Aug 30, 2013.

  1. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Last night I watched a segment of Anderson Cooper on tv. Usually I do not watch any news, but it was on people taking prescription drugs so they can get to sleep. His doctor, Sanjay Gupta, said 8 million Americans take them for sleep and countless others take over-the-counter medications to help them sleep. Cooper said he takes a prescription drug to get to sleep and admitted he takes it with some wine. Gupta said that is a no-no. Cooper may have trouble sleeping because his mind is always racing, from one news story to the next. An over-active mind can keep us awake.

    I find that deep breathing and not thinking about problems, worries, or repressed emotions in bed help me to sleep. I sometimes also count backwards from 100 to 1 and fall asleep, maybe not the first time through, but the second.

    Some recent postings on sleep:

    (William) My name is William and I have been struggeling with back pain for years, I diagnosised myself after reading Dr. Sarno's book "Healing Back Pain" as having TMS. I began to apply the principles in the book and saw a reduction with 90% of my symptoms, I am also off all my medications now. I slept great at night, the first time in about 6 years, for several weeks. But I guess I have slipped or something because my back pain has returned at night. Help!
    I try to do several key things before I go to bed, reviewing key points of TMS, affirmation statements about sleep... but I am stuck. When I wake up I try telling my mind to "stop it" but it is difficutl to focus and process emotional issues when you are half awake. I believe, could be wrong, that at night my mind is thinking about various things and thus creating tension.

    (Walt) I try not to think of my repressed emotions when I’m in bed because they keep me awake. Think about them when you’re awake the next day.
    I sometimes find that if I can’t fall asleep, a combination of deep breathing and counting backwards from 100 to 1 gets me to sleep, although I may have to do it more than once.

    (Veronica) Hi William,
    I've had pain waking up, morning anxiety, and bad dreams. I think it's part of the whole TMS process. During sleep the unconscious mind is in control and it's not like you can do your affirmations in your sleep [​IMG]There was something really great about sleep/waking up in pain in the Frequently Asked Questions section of Dr. Schubiner's book--I think he says something about journaling before bed and then writing or saying I'm going to deal with this later it's not going to affect my sleep...and after a few weeks of that, sleep should improve. I don't have the book with me though so maybe someone else remembers it better.

    (Susan) I use the Schubiner insomnia protocol every night. It is in Chapter 12 of his book. He actually suggests listing out what you might be worried about in the night which is like journaling but my list pretty much stays the same. I keep a generic list by my bed and then instruct my mind I will deal with any problems in the morning. I also have written out what I expect during the night, like longer episodes of sleep than the night before, up less time at night, being pain free in the night and awakening with no pain. I read these instructions to myself before I lay down. I find I have been sleeping much better most nights. William, you might want to give this a try. It has taken about six weeks for these instructions to have a positive effect and worth the time to me.

    (Audrey Berdeski):
    Dr. Sarno's theory could be of good value in a situation like this. I'm going to assume that you've been checked by a Doctor to rule out physical causes of sleeplessness already. Your sleep problem could very well be caused by unconscious rage, just as physical pain can be. The key is to get into your unconscious mind through the journaling and writing exercises expose what is in your unconscious mind. Starting to think psychologically about the sleep problems, and talk to your unconscious mind, telling it that you know what it's doing and that your sleep problems are from the repressed rage. Also, a daily meditation or reflection period is important, so that you can take time to think each day about what it takes to get better.

    (Lisa Morophopoulos):
    Sounds like you need to quiet your mind, stop the monkey-mind. Commit to meditation 5-15 minutes each morning and/or evening - last thing before bed. The purpose of this practice is to quiet your mind and get close to yourself. Have an evening ritual. Start putting yourself to bed an hour before you'd like to be asleep to give yourself time to unwind. Stop doing anything work/task related. Just get ready for bed. When in bed, have a low light, a soft lamp and/or candle. Lie on your back and let your mind answer any nagging questions; keep a notebook for things to do tomorrow, if these thoughts bother you. Lie down, do not sit up, and read a book you enjoy. Take time out to ponder if your mind wonders, then return to your reading. Keep the light on until your eyes get heavy. If you wake during the night, consider that this is time that you need to be close to yourself. Ask yourself what you need, what's concerning you. Reassure yourself that things will ultimately work out. Tell yourself that as long as you're resting, you'll be OK tomorrow. Work with your therapist on what bedtime was like growing up: Who put you to bed? What was that time like? Did you feel safe or were you afraid of the dark? What kind of reoccurring childhood dreams/nightmares did you have? What did you do when you woke up? Did you go to mom and dad? Did they comfort you? And so on... MEDITATION Set an alarm for 15 minutes. Sit cross-legged on floor facing a wall. Wedge a flat pillow, or a rolled up blanket under your seat to support you. Place hands on knees. Keep eyes open, or closed. Breathe naturally. You may be tempted to control your breath. Try, though, to let your breath just happen. With a gentle effort on the inhale, the exhale is an automatic release. Follow your breath. Notice the beginning, middle, and end of the breath. Feel the inner lining of the breath.

    As you focus on your breath, your attention will wander. Next thing you know, you're in a trance, somewhere else. You may be thinking of a situation or a task. Tell yourself that you can solve the problem later and return to your breath. Keep doing this. Notice how your mind wanders, like a baby waddling away, and retrieve it. You may think that nothing is happening, that you're not doing it right, or that you're not doing a very good job at it. That's fine, just keep doing it. You may find this boring or tedious. Engaging in the struggle is what makes this work. You will experience the benefits later. Your mind will be clear, you will feel good, and solutions will easily pop into your head from your unconscious.

    Five Tips to Sleep Better Tonight

    1. Try to go to bed the same time every nightPick a time when you generally begin to get tired and try to stick to it regardless of outside circumstances, including holidays and special occasions.
    2. Only use your bed for sleepYour body needs to know that when you are lying in bed it is time for sleep. If you do all sorts of tasks in bed, including watching TV, checking email, playing games on an iPad or any number of other examples, your body does not instinctively sense that bedtime is sleep time.
    3. Make your bedroom comfortable for sleepPeople sleep best at 65 degree Fahrenheit, with as little light as possible and with stable background noise. If you are woken up by noises in your home, try white noise near your bed.
    4. Keep your stress levels under controlNighttime is not the time to go through a list of your worries and concerns. It is a time for relaxation, whether yoga, breathing techniques or sex help you relax, you should try to find a way to do so.
    5. Eat right, all day and especially before bedCaffeine can affect you up to 12 hours after it is consumed. Sugar and alcohol before bed are also a bad idea.

    And try not to let little things bother you.

    little things.jpg
    plum likes this.
  2. AC45

    AC45 Well known member

    Great post! Thank you! I've been feeling better overall BUT I have light sleep, lots of dreams and not enough rest. I would really like to manage this naturally vs taking medication. You have some great suggestions summarized here!
  3. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I used to have severe insomnia, waking up in the middle of the night and unable to sleep. Doctors prescribed me ambien of various strength, CPAP (breathing machine) and other kinds of medical nonsense. Nothing helped. I stopped having dreams and decided that I am just too old to have them. At some point, I realized that my insomnia seems to be result of anxiety. I asked for xanax - and the miracle occurred! I started reliably going back to sleep upon taking the lowest dose of xanax available. For few years it worked, but then stopped. I increased the dose - some improvement, but I started getting hangovers in the morning. After a while, hangover was worse than just getting up after 2-3 hours of sleep and calling quits.

    Then, I developed chronic pain and other symptoms - and that was a blessing in disguise. I had no choice but doing what I call "The Sarno thing". My "Sarno thing" included sitting meditation which I resisted for many years for a very simple reason: my anxiety was too strong for me to handle facing my inner world. But because Dr. Sarno explained the mind and body connection, I started dealing with my anxiety through the mindbody prescription.

    Now the real miracle occurred: I have not taken xanax in 6 months. I sleep well and feel rested in the morning. I have occasional bad nights, but I have at least 5-6 good nights every week and one bad night does not send me into a downward spiral like it used to be. I am no longer fearful of insomnia. I am no longer a zombie. Insomnia is TMS, at least in my case! It is a product of the restless mind, when our emotions come to the surface and destroy our sleep. I now have dreams, often vivid and colorful - as if I am a child again!
    ChanaG, plum, Ellen and 2 others like this.
  4. AC45

    AC45 Well known member

    TG957, thank you for sharing your story. I, too, was hit with anxiety for the first time in my life about 7 months ago. I've done two rounds of intense journaling (for each 3 month period). I followed Sarno's advice. It meant that I had to reexperience a lot of intense emotion. It has really helped though. With Sarno, Claire Weekes and PanicAway (all recommended on this forum), I am 90% recovered from severe anxiety and insomnia. What's left is some crazy sleep (light, lots of dreams, waking up with a racing heart sometimes) but is is very encouraging to read your story. Peri menopause doesn't help but for you ladies out there, I found a low dose of birth control pills very useful for stabilizing the hormones. I've been offered anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds but I am trying the natural route and it is gradually improving. I did take Trazadone for two weeks in the very beginning for sleep. I also have Altivan that I can take as needed. I only took it about 5 times as a friend of mine had a terrible reaction to benzos (so I am super careful with them). Anyway, TG957, thank you so much for sharing your story.
  5. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    You are so very welcome and thank you for your reply - it helps me to know that I am not alone and to be more patient. I admit, dealing with anxiety is not easy. It sometimes scares me, despite all of my knowledge.

    Have you looked at Black Cohosh, Estroven and likes? At a certain time, when my hormones were completely out of whack, I used herbs to stabilize my mood swings and sleep. I was amazed by how within 2 days, Estroven returned me to my normal self from being a complete nerve wrack. At the time, I was offered anti-depressant and took it, reluctantly. My sleep went from 3 hours a day to 0 hours a day. Needless to say, I quit. Going back to your crazy sleep, please remember that sleep is when our brain discharges all the stress and junk accumulated during the day. Let it be and be patient! Peri-menopause is not fun :(
    ChanaG likes this.
  6. ChanaG

    ChanaG New Member

    Black Cohosh is a excellent choice as are Passionflower, Skullcup, Linden, Bacopa and Ashwaganda. A skilled herbalist can help you to deal with your particular insomnia and the causes of it. Flower Essences as Bach Flowers are another invaluable tool, very effective and very inexpensive. But above all, is the awareness of what is causing the anxiety (often totally unconscious motivations) will bring the cure. Anxiety is coming from fears, and the best cure for fears is....to face them. Aid yourself of a good friend , counselor or therapist (or all the above that can sustain you in this process. "If someone wishes for good health, one must first ask oneself if he is ready to do away with the reasons for his illness. Only then is it possible to help him." (Hippocrates)
  7. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-16964783 (The myth of the eight-hour sleep - BBC News)

    The myth of the eight-hour sleep
    By Stephanie HegartyBBC World Service
    • 22 February 2012
    • From the sectionMagazine
    • comments
    [​IMG]Image copyrightOTHER
    We often worry about lying awake in the middle of the night - but it could be good for you. A growing body of evidence from both science and history suggests that the eight-hour sleep may be unnatural.

    In the early 1990s, psychiatrist Thomas Wehr conducted an experiment in which a group of people were plunged into darkness for 14 hours every day for a month.

    It took some time for their sleep to regulate but by the fourth week the subjects had settled into a very distinct sleeping pattern. They slept first for four hours, then woke for one or two hours before falling into a second four-hour sleep.

    Though sleep scientists were impressed by the study, among the general public the idea that we must sleep for eight consecutive hours persists.

    In 2001, historian Roger Ekirch of Virginia Tech published a seminal paper, drawn from 16 years of research, revealing a wealth of historical evidence that humans used to sleep in two distinct chunks.

    [​IMG]Image copyrightBBC
    Image captionRoger Ekirch says this 1595 engraving by Jan Saenredam is evidence of activity at night
    His book At Day's Close: Night in Times Past, published four years later, unearths more than 500 references to a segmented sleeping pattern - in diaries, court records, medical books and literature, from Homer's Odyssey to an anthropological account of modern tribes in Nigeria.

    Much like the experience of Wehr's subjects, these references describe a first sleep which began about two hours after dusk, followed by waking period of one or two hours and then a second sleep.

    "It's not just the number of references - it is the way they refer to it, as if it was common knowledge," Ekirch says.

    During this waking period people were quite active. They often got up, went to the toilet or smoked tobacco and some even visited neighbours. Most people stayed in bed, read, wrote and often prayed. Countless prayer manuals from the late 15th Century offered special prayers for the hours in between sleeps.

    And these hours weren't entirely solitary - people often chatted to bed-fellows or had sex.

    Ten strange things people do at night

    A doctor's manual from 16th Century France even advised couples that the best time to conceive was not at the end of a long day's labour but "after the first sleep", when "they have more enjoyment" and "do it better".

    Ekirch found that references to the first and second sleep started to disappear during the late 17th Century. This started among the urban upper classes in northern Europe and over the course of the next 200 years filtered down to the rest of Western society.

    By the 1920s the idea of a first and second sleep had receded entirely from our social consciousness.

    He attributes the initial shift to improvements in street lighting, domestic lighting and a surge in coffee houses - which were sometimes open all night. As the night became a place for legitimate activity and as that activity increased, the length of time people could dedicate to rest dwindled.

    When segmented sleep was the norm

    • "He knew this, even in the horror with which he started from his first sleep, and threw up the window to dispel it by the presence of some object, beyond the room, which had not been, as it were, the witness of his dream." Charles Dickens, Barnaby Rudge (1840)
    • "Don Quixote followed nature, and being satisfied with his first sleep, did not solicit more. As for Sancho, he never wanted a second, for the first lasted him from night to morning." Miguel Cervantes, Don Quixote (1615)
    • "And at the wakening of your first sleepe You shall have a hott drinke made, And at the wakening of your next sleepe Your sorrowes will have a slake." Early English ballad, Old Robin of Portingale
    • The Tiv tribe in Nigeria employ the terms "first sleep" and "second sleep" to refer to specific periods of the night
    Source: Roger Ekirch. Visit Roger's website.

    In his new book, Evening's Empire, historian Craig Koslofsky puts forward an account of how this happened.

    "Associations with night before the 17th Century were not good," he says. The night was a place populated by people of disrepute - criminals, prostitutes and drunks.

    "Even the wealthy, who could afford candlelight, had better things to spend their money on. There was no prestige or social value associated with staying up all night."

    That changed in the wake of the Reformation and the counter-Reformation. Protestants and Catholics became accustomed to holding secret services at night, during periods of persecution. If earlier the night had belonged to reprobates, now respectable people became accustomed to exploiting the hours of darkness.

    This trend migrated to the social sphere too, but only for those who could afford to live by candlelight. With the advent of street lighting, however, socialising at night began to filter down through the classes.

    In 1667, Paris became the first city in the world to light its streets, using wax candles in glass lamps. It was followed by Lille in the same year and Amsterdam two years later, where a much more efficient oil-powered lamp was developed.

    [​IMG]Image copyrightBBC
    Image captionA small city like Leipzig in central Germany employed 100 men to tend to 700 lamps
    London didn't join their ranks until 1684 but by the end of the century, more than 50 of Europe's major towns and cities were lit at night.

    Night became fashionable and spending hours lying in bed was considered a waste of time.

    Gregg Jacobs' site - CBT for Insomnia

    Find out more about the science behind sleep

    "People were becoming increasingly time-conscious and sensitive to efficiency, certainly before the 19th Century," says Roger Ekirch. "But the industrial revolution intensified that attitude by leaps and bounds."

    Strong evidence of this shifting attitude is contained in a medical journal from 1829 which urged parents to force their children out of a pattern of first and second sleep.

    "If no disease or accident there intervene, they will need no further repose than that obtained in their first sleep, which custom will have caused to terminate by itself just at the usual hour.

    "And then, if they turn upon their ear to take a second nap, they will be taught to look upon it as an intemperance not at all redounding to their credit."

    Today, most people seem to have adapted quite well to the eight-hour sleep, but Ekirch believes many sleeping problems may have roots in the human body's natural preference for segmented sleep as well as the ubiquity of artificial light.

    This could be the root of a condition called sleep maintenance insomnia, where people wake during the night and have trouble getting back to sleep, he suggests.

    The condition first appears in literature at the end of the 19th Century, at the same time as accounts of segmented sleep disappear.

    "For most of evolution we slept a certain way," says sleep psychologist Gregg Jacobs. "Waking up during the night is part of normal human physiology."

    The idea that we must sleep in a consolidated block could be damaging, he says, if it makes people who wake up at night anxious, as this anxiety can itself prohibit sleeps and is likely to seep into waking life too.

    Russell Foster, a professor of circadian [body clock] neuroscience at Oxford, shares this point of view.

    "Many people wake up at night and panic," he says. "I tell them that what they are experiencing is a throwback to the bi-modal sleep pattern."

    But the majority of doctors still fail to acknowledge that a consolidated eight-hour sleep may be unnatural.

    Can we really get by on four hours of sleep?

    Weird things people do in their sleep

    "Over 30% of the medical problems that doctors are faced with stem directly or indirectly from sleep. But sleep has been ignored in medical training and there are very few centres where sleep is studied," he says.

    Jacobs suggests that the waking period between sleeps, when people were forced into periods of rest and relaxation, could have played an important part in the human capacity to regulate stress naturally.

    In many historic accounts, Ekirch found that people used the time to meditate on their dreams.

    "Today we spend less time doing those things," says Dr Jacobs. "It's not a coincidence that, in modern life, the number of people who report anxiety, stress, depression, alcoholism and drug abuse has gone up."

    So the next time you wake up in the middle of the night, think of your pre-industrial ancestors and relax. Lying awake could be good for you.

    Craig Koslofsky and Russell Foster appeared on The Forum from the BBC World Service. Listen to the programme here.

    View comments
    TG957 likes this.
  8. AC45

    AC45 Well known member

    Thank you TG957! I wasn't aware of Black Cohosh and Estroven. I appreciate the pointers!
  9. AC45

    AC45 Well known member

    Thanks ChanaG, yes, I have been working through my emotions. I am MUCH better than I was. The anxiety has mostly lifted. What is left is light sleep. Thanks again so much for the pointers.
  10. AC45

    AC45 Well known member

    Thank you Tennis Tom for the article! It is a great read!
  11. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thank you for the post!

    This is a great reminder that our social habits are only couple thousand years old. I seriously doubt that humans and their ancestors had a luxury of sleeping safely and comfortably until recently - predators were always around, ready to eat them!

    Biologically and evolutionary we are probably conditioned to sleep in short intervals, when opportunity comes up. It explains why we can go for days on little sleep without much damage, but then we crash - and many other things. The other great conclusion that comes out of it is that our insomnia is often caused by anxiety over our inability to follow the rigid schedule that is somehow socially prescribed but not well justified biologically. So, relax and worry not about your sleep!
    Tennis Tom likes this.
  12. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    Your very welcome! I sometimes hesitate to repost-it, having done it a number of times, but TMS and perceived lack of sleep issues go hand in hand. Your analysis is spot-on. After coming across the article I totally changed my views on sleep--I sleep when I fall asleep and don't worry about what is called "insomnia". I've gained many hours of productivity and no longer waste time ruminating on the ceiling. Bed mates sometimes like me turning on the TV to catch up on the overloaded DVR--that's their problem! Naps are good too. Glad you benefited from it and I will re-post it when the topic of "insomnia" arises for newbees.
    AC45 likes this.
  13. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think it does well to honour whether one is an owl or a lark. I'm a nightbird and I found more kindred spirits among those who worked night-times than in any day job. Such folk are often possessed with a dark humour and love of human oddities. Maybe that has something to do with dealing in the stuff many people avoid (I'm thinking of undertakers, emergency services, hotel staff and kitchen crews, and those I know best of all, musicians and artists).

    I'm lucky in that I can go to bed and rise at any time I please. It feels damn good to live by my natural rhythms and not those demanded by society. It's the great upside of being a carer.
    AC45 likes this.
  14. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    I'm with you on that, happiness is being single, or a mate with their own room or apartment down the hallway.
    plum likes this.
  15. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Or having your own double bed...bliss :)
    TG957 and Tennis Tom like this.
  16. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Absolutely! The more my sleep had deteriorated over the years, the more anxious I became over it. Now that I know I have my sleeping problems more or less under control, I simply get up at 4 am and get on with my life, knowing that next night I will catch up. Interesting that my son takes naps during the day, sometimes up to 3 times. He has a pillow and blanket in his car in case he needs a nap while during his work hours at the office. It bothered me as an indication of his sleeping problems, but I reconsidered my position now.
    Tennis Tom likes this.

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