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.

Relaxation and Insomnia: Confessions of an Insomniac

My insomnia is bad. Really, really bad... and by bad let me just state for the public record that I have never met an individual with worse insomnia then me. That is just a sad fact. Now, I am quite sure unfortunate individuals are out there with a more severe version of this dreaded condition. It is a big world, after all. I just never came across them.  My personal battle with this affliction started in my early twenties. I had developed ringing ears (tinnitus) from a noisy work environment and playing in a loud blues-rock band. My tinnitus, which I still have, is in both ears and at two different frequencies. Trying to fall asleep with tinnitus is like trying to catch a nap with an alarm going off. You might doze off but you will awaken rather quickly.  As it turns out, our hearing never quite goes to sleep. There is a part of our big human brain that is always listening. It is part of the human survival package that comes with our DNA. This is a great asset when fire alarms blare or we get that middle of the night phone call. It is not so great when you have tinnitus. I, like many of my tinnitus-suffering insomniac brethren, made the usual rounds to sleep labs, ENT physicians, neurologists, and even the occasional hypnotist. I even went to a regressive hypno-therapist who informed me that the reason I fought sleep was because I had drowned in a previous lifetime. I must admit that during that particular hypnosis session I had never actually been hypnotized and was just playing a little joke on the therapist. Insomniacs can have fun, too.

 

I spent decades chasing sleep with sleeping pills, anti-depressants and vodka . Insomnia stressed out my relationships, altered the types of jobs I sought (ones that did not require my timely arrival in the morning), and had me strolling the streets in the middle of the night in an attempt to get so tired I would simply pass out from exhaustion. The thought of my insomnia consumed me to the point that I dreaded going to bed at night. It was official. I had become an insomno-maniac. Okay, I made that word up but 'insomniac' just did not seem an adequate description.

 

Through my own desperate research I discovered that relaxing nature sounds (wind, rain, waterfalls) really did help me fall asleep. This is because of the natural white noise properties. White noise has a tendency to block out irritating ambient noise. This aided in my quest for slumber but something was missing. Having a background in audio recording, I began mixing my own versions of nature sounds. These sounds not only contain a primary foreground relaxation audio track but also background audio that set a unique scene that could be visualized. This worked miracles. I did not know this at the time but, as it turns out, the simple act of visualizing stimulated the same area of my brain that is active in dreaming. This area of the brain is the secondary visual cortices. Ergo, the name virtual dreamer. Even though I hope you will buy something here you can try visualization without spending a nickel. Simple put on some relaxing music and visualize sitting in the audience while watching the band performing. You might be amazed how well it works.

 

If you are an insomniac I hope this blog assists you in discovering the underlying reasons for your condition. There is some good stuff in here. This is not your average blog as I have written every single one of these entries. There is nothing worse then regurgitated Internet blog-blab. Okay, maybe world hunger is worse.

 

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