Not sleeping is a problem for millions of people. All you need to do is eavesdrop on conversations—whether they be of tired parents with young children, chronically sleep-deprived teenagers, the ever-growing number of sleep apneics—and you’ll understand why every newspaper, magazine, tv commercial and health column features sleep problems and ways to overcome them.
Among my friends, insomnia is often a topic of dinner conversation—a real yawner, so to speak. The women say they change into their pajamas as early as is reasonable, hop into bed and read themselves to sleep. The men are either stoic or in denial; they prefer sleeping while sitting up in the company of their laptops or televisions. They consider those slumber-fests to be “catnaps.” All of these folks sleep well for the first few hours in bed, then lie awake for hours, unable to sleep.
There are numerous suggestions for curing insomnia without sleeping pills: drinking warm milk; counting breaths (or sheep) to focus the mind; keeping the bedroom completely dark; not reading, using a computer or watching television during the sleepless time. Of everything I’ve read and sometimes needed to try, Dr. Andrew Weil (is there anything this man doesn’t know?) has a method that works for me. It’s called the “4-7-8 Breathing Exercise” and you can read about it here.
One more thing: if you are reading this blog as soon as it’s published, you have insomnia and should try Weil’s method.