virtual dreamer

nextI have written extensively over the years about the process of falling asleep and have sorted my journal into four areas of interest.

Audio for Relaxation and Stress Relief: How it Started

Sometime in 2002-2003 I was miserable. I needed relaxation and stress relief to get some sleep. My insomnia had become so bad that I dreaded the thought of attempting to 'go to sleep'. I had been on Ambian for about 2+ years at that point and was barely feeling the effects of that drug anymore. I had begun drinking to get sleepy. A little at first, then more... and more and more.  By then I had given up on the medical community as they did not seem to want to do anything but prescribe more drugs. Like most insomniacs I did not want drugs. I wanted answers. Luckily I had Internet access and began my own research. I read online 'somewhere' that 'someone' had very good results with relaxation and sleeping while listening to audio books. OK, I thought. I'll try that... no real help for my stress. Someone else blogged that they listen to old time radio shows from the 1930's to make them sleepy. OK, I thought. I'll try that. I was surprised to find that that really did help a little. Continuing in my quest, I downloaded a hypnotic lucid dreams recording. The tape, probably made in the 70's, used individuals speaking while sounds were heard in the background... trains, wind, and other ambient noise. Now that really helped. But why? In my research I discovered that a sleep state existed that no doctor ever told me about. The Theta brainwave state. I call it the daydream state. In a normal sleep progression our big brains go from Beta (alert) to Alpha (relaxed) to Theta (daydreamy) to Delta (deep sleep). I realized that the radio shows were constructed with 'visualization' in mind.  I am a master of the obvious. It was radio... duh.

Nature Sounds for Sleep : The Early Tapes

On the lucid dreams tape the visualization combined with the natural sleep sounds  (wind, train) seemed to have more of an effect on me then the people 'talking' on the same recording. Then the bright idea... construct my own sleep CD that simulated a virtually real environment, utilizing our brains natural ability to visualize, using nature sounds with no talking. The first mix was rough... real rough. Wind blew, rain and hail fell. There were footsteps and a gate opening. Soon there was a fire crackling. The idea behind the tape was simple. I was in a snowy mountainous area seeking shelter and come upon a cabin... and it worked. I could sleep.


I felt like I had discovered something. I realized over time that I merely stumbled upon something that the medical sleep community has known about for a long time. The Theta brainwave state. Anyone who meditates can tell you of this natural state of mind.  You have felt it when staring out a window at length on a rainy day or driving long distances and wondered 'how you got there'. Or maybe when you think about that wonderful 'place' in your past that you desire to go again. It's a daydream used for sleep onset, relaxation and stress relief and it's what we try to emulate here with our sleep sounds.