Deep Sleep Thoughts
(and maybe a few not so deep)
Wherein Brad McBride discusses his 25 year battle with insomnia *, the concept of visualization as a relaxation method, recording nature sounds and the trials and tribulations of running an Internet based business.
*Insomnia can be an indication of a serious underlying health condition. Our opinions are in no way intended to be taken as medical advice. If you feel your insomnia issue warrants it please seek the advice of a qualified physician.
I have written extensively over the years about the process of falling asleep and have sorted my journal into four areas of interest.
It's hard to believe but virtualdreamer.com is five years old. A big thank you goes out to all of our patrons!
Chronic Insomnia and Falling Asleep
Update: We now have 8 hour all night long versions of our soundscapes available. You can find them here. We will be adding more of these long versions in the future.
As a chronic insomniac I have done all the generic things that most of us troubled sleepers do. I have been to sleep labs, consulted with countless doctors, read books by so-called experts. I have practiced good bedtime hygiene, used black-out curtains, exercised regularly, watched what I eat before bed, removed all light sources from the bedroom... and just about everything else one can do according to the experts. While there was some relief, it wasn't enough. I would almost invariably end up on medication. Basically, I was knocking myself out to fall asleep. This most common method of dealing with insomnia has it's own negative side effects that, ironically enough, rival the effects of getting a horrible night's rest... grogginess, irritability, and a general feeling of unhealthiness. Over time, as the medications built up in my system, a feeling of malaise would eventually engulf my spirit. Sleeping pills were not doing it for me. Something had to give. That's when I learned something very interesting about the human brain. As it turns out when we visualize we use the same portion of our brain as when we dream. This is not theory but a medical fact.
When we are trying to fall asleep our brains go through four distinct changes in brainwave activity. We go from alert (Beta) to relaxed (Alpha) to a daydreaming type of brainwave state called Theta. It is in Theta that we transition into deep sleep characterized by long wave Delta brainwaves. I suggest that this is knowledge we insomniacs can use. Some sounds, by their very nature, produce calming white, pink and brown noise. This is why you might feel sleepy on an airliner, while hearing the rain or in an automobile. Maybe it's the murmur of a crowd or the relaxing sound of ocean waves. These sounds induce a natural Alpha (relaxed) brainwave state, while masking background sounds that might entice our already overactive minds to become more alert.
The next time you find yourself struggling with insomnia try this technique. While deeply relaxed, and listening to peaceful nature sounds or soft music, try visualizing yourself in a particular scene. What you are doing is activating the secondary visual cortices in your brain's occipital lobe. You are, in a sense, dreaming while still somewhat awake. I believe this type of visualization is akin to self-hypnosis and primes the pump for falling asleep. I never read this in a book. No doctor ever told me this. Out of desperation I innovated a natural way of tricking my over-active brain into believing it had already fallen asleep.
I am a chronic insomniac. I will probably always be a chronic insomniac. However, this method of virtual dreaming works for me. I think it can work for you, too. I believe in it so much that we have a 100% money back guarantee. There are hundreds of audio scenarios that help people sleep so check back every now and then as we add more relaxing dreamscapes, both sublime and esoteric, all the time. If you can't find what you are looking for try checking out our specialty section. Whatever you do just remember imagining and dreaming occur in the same area of our brains. So, if you have to dream (and you do), why not dream big?
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