When My Head Hits the Pillow
I have known quite a few people that told me that they fall asleep as soon as their head hits the pillow. I have always envied this ability I have often wondered why them... and not me? Do they have a special talent for sleep that I do not possess or are they more genetically inclined to be able to relax and fall asleep? Did their grandparents have this talent? Was it handed down to them, inherited and re-inherited, like an antique dresser over the years. Is it in their nature or in their DNA? I'm thinking... yes.
My gene pool contributors were obviously insomniacs. My father's father's father's father's father must have had it rough. Or maybe it was on my mother's side. At some point along the genetic trail that led to 'me' someone had developed the inability to fall asleep. Some of my brothers and sisters have this proclivity as well. It seems my big brain has confused the mechanics of sleep with the process of dying. I think I'm falling asleep while my subconscious thinks I'm falling off a cliff.
Gee, thanks great-great-great-great-great-whoever.
When my head hits the pillow; or at least when it used to, I would go into an almost panic mode. I knew a rough time lay ahead. It certainly did not help that I suffer with the sounds of two ringing ears, as I have had tinnitus for decades, but my insomnia issue went beyond that. Most nights, right before slipping off to unconsciousness, I would arouse in an almost startled state. This was as if an alarm was going off in my head preventing me from drifting off.
To most people the mechanics of falling asleep are natural and they don't think twice about it. The generic understanding of falling asleep is that we get tired, lay down and sleep just happens. That might work for some but not for me. I realized that there were multiple steps to falling asleep. Our big brains go from the Alpha (relaxed) brainwave state to the Theta brainwave state and onward to dreamland via the Delta (deep sleep) brainwave state. I understand being relaxed and I certainly understand being asleep. It was that middle step in the ritual that both frustrated and intrigued me. The Theta brainwave state. The Theta state is the middle ground between your consciousness and your sleeping mind. It is at the junction that we release the keys to our physical bodies to Mr. Sandman. Okay, maybe that's an over-simplification.
That Relaxed Feeling Before Falling Asleep
The Theta state is that daydreamy relaxed feeling you get right before drifting off. It is also the state of mind hypnotists strive to put their subjects in. It can be reached as well through meditation. You know the feeling. If you have ever driven a car from here to there and wondered how you got there... you were probably in the Theta state of mind. If you have stared out a window on a rainy day and got that 'far-off' feeling, that was probably the Theta brainwave state.
From my own studies in self-hypnosis, deep relaxation techniques, meditation and visualization this site was born. I am one of the worst insomniacs that I have ever heard of and yet the simple act of visualizing; through natural and nature sounds that promote mental imagery, an ultimately relaxing scenario has worked wonders for my own sleep issues. Basically, the act of visualization emulates the sensation of dreaming for, as it turns out, visualizing and dreaming use the same areas of the human brain. It is also important to note that it is our hearing that succumbs to unconsciousness lastly.
It's virtually dreaming. Ergo, virtualdreamer.com.
These days when my head hits the pillow there is usually a CD of one of my recordings ready to go just in case my subconscious decides I'm falling off a cliff. I would much rather have it think I am hearing the sound of the ocean while relaxing on a beach in the Caribbean.
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.