Reflections on Being Awakened at Night and not Being Able to Get Back to Sleep

© 2000 Michele Toomey, PhD


June 5, 2000

It is most unfortunate that you are unable to sleep through the night. Four, five or even six hours is really not enough sleep, so, of course, you become anxious when you cannot fall back to sleep. Yet, your brain, its chaotic signals, your bodily responses, and your past history, are loud and not in your control. The paradox of being in charge of how you relate to this awakened, wired state even as you are at the mercy of it, is very complex and profound.

This is no simple condition and there is no simple solution. In fact, there is no solution, really, only strategies and creative responses both to the condition and to your reactions to it.

How to deal with the sense of powerlessness is probably the single most difficult issue. To have a runaway brain sending misfiring signals that cause tension and pressure within your system and throughout your body, is entrapping. You cannot escape, it's within your electrical circuitry. The anxiety of it triggers scrambling; scrambling thoughts, scrambling searches for reasons, for solutions, for relief. This anxiety and subsequent scrambling, creates the feeling that more thinking, more creativity, more trying, more, more, more... will finally strike the right cord and relief will follow. Wrong. Understandable, totally, but wrong.

The key is less, not more, and that flies in the face of misfiring electricity. Our job is to try to figure out how to have you experiencing the shock of misfires even as you relax. Seems like a cruel joke, but, the fact is, this whole disease is cruel. So, how do we deal with integrity with a system that has impaired integrity. Scarred brain, misfiring, loss of memory, loss of organizational functioning, loss of visual recognition, loss of common sense, propelled hyper-activity, loss of brain energy, so, generally impaired to a lesser or greater degree, depending on your reference point. The question is, how to accept with integrity, yield to the truth, and then maximize all the many capacities that are still available and be able to learn how to carry the messages in alternate ways.

You must learn How to yield and accept, then yield and bring forth. To try and we'll evaluate:

Try visualizing anything that feels rhythmic

  • waves of the ocean
  • breathing as you would in scuba diving
  • listening to music, really listen
  • use every option of visualizing, breathing, listening, touching, (rub rhythmically)
  • read my writing that has a calming draw for you at the moment
  • yoga
  • hot bubble bath
  • dead man's float with snorkel and mask in heated pool
  • tai chi
Copyright © 1999-2012 Liberation Psychology. All rights reserved worldwide. The resources at this web site are copyrighted by the authors and/or publisher and may be used for non-commercial purposes only. They may not be redistributed for commercial purposes without the express written consent of Michele Toomey. Appropriate credit should be given to these resources if they are reproduced in any form.