Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Say goobye to insomnia: The rational approach to sound sleep every night of the week

Sleeping pills have become an everyday accessory in modern society. In Europe or America, Asia or the Middle East, rare is the bathroom closet that does not contain some pharmaceutical product to induce slumber. The solution has become so commonplace that few dare to question it any more.

How did we arrive at such widespread social acceptance of chemical dependence? Certainly not because sleeping pills are providing a fully satisfactory solution to the problem. If given a choice, the great majority of insomniacs would prefer to address their condition without chemical substances.

Sleep difficulties, like any other problem, can be treated by addressing its cause or its symptoms. Herbs and pharmaceuticals are focusing on the symptoms of insomnia. Their goal is to replace the natural process of falling asleep by chemically-induced slumber that will last a few hours.

Addressing the cause of insomnia is a much more demanding undertaking, since it is going to require introspection and commitment to personal growth.

The most common causes of insomnia

Contrary to what you might have heard, most people have little trouble figuring out why they cannot sleep well. Leaving aside environmental aspects such as noise or an uncomfortable bed, these are the four most common causes of insomnia:
  1. An unpleasant job: An occupation that is too boring or too demanding, that demands long hours, involves high risk of redundancy, excessive fatigue, continuous travel, aggressive supervisors, nasty colleagues, a low salary, poor prospects for the future, and so on.
  2. Financial worries: Excessive debt, investment losses, imminent mortgage foreclosure, risk of bankruptcy, difficulties to collect from debtors, negative cash flow, being involved in litigation, or simply being poor.
  3. Family or personal conflicts: Those could arise from a spouse with antagonistic interests, betrayal, exploitation or abandonment, dealing with hostility or discrimination, social isolation, or lack of friends who share the same values.
  4. Health problems: No wonder that people will encounter sleep difficulties if they are facing heart surgery, awaiting results of critical tests, getting weak as they grow old, suffering from debilitating illness or invalidity, being extreme overweight or underweight, and any other serious medical condition.

At any given time, you might be going through one or several of the above-mentioned situations. Since problems tend to compound with amazing speed, you will never lack excuses to resort to sleeping pills. Nevertheless, in each case, you will be better off by using philosophy to achieve serenity.

Is there a remedy for insomnia?

The antidote to insomnia is peace of mind. No other alternative can address successfully the cause of sleep difficulties. All other options have failed. Serenity is the only one that works. What is the process of acquiring and maintaining peace of mind? Which steps should you take?

Eliminating anxiety and stress permanently is equivalent to modifying the structure of a house. You can only carry out such fundamental change if you proceed carefully and little by little. If done properly, the change should not weaken the building. After the change, the resulting edifice will offer a safer environment to live and rest.

Dozens of self-help books are proposing auto-suggestion as the key to achieving success in life, but if you try it out, you will see that it does not work for long. Self-delusion is unsustainable and will not put an end to insomnia. Sleeping well is a direct consequence of achieving peace of mind, which must come from truthful thinking and consistent action.

The best way to attain serenity

For this reason, I submit that the best way to attain serenity and have a sound sleep at night comprises five elements:
  • Identify your most important problem and write it down.
  • Find out who has solved a similar problem satisfactorily and how he did it.
  • Study the solution, adapt it to your life, and make a detailed plan.
  • Start implementing the plan right away by taking the first step.
  • Keep walking the path, and remind yourself daily that you are on the right track to a better life.
Let me illustrate the process with an example. Imagine an individual who has been recently diagnosed with cancer. Doctors have told him that his illness is still at an early stage. He has sufficient time to explore different treatments, and good prospects of recovery. Nonetheless, upon hearing the news, his anxiety mounts and he has difficulties to sleep at night.

For the concerned person, the situation leaves little doubt about what the most important problem is. Taking sleeping pills, assuming that they are not contraindicated for cancer, may help him get a few hours of rest, but will not reduce his preoccupation during the time he is awake.

A rational approach to peace of mind

The rational approach starts with gathering information about available treatments, reading success stories, and if at all possible, talking to some people who have recovered. As soon as a troubled person has chosen a path of action with reasonable chances of success, he will begin to turn his worry into hope.

As he learns more details about possible treatments, he will shape a plan to recover his health. After gathering the necessary information, he will know what to do, for how long, and the results he can expect. He will envisage real improvement and his mood will improve. His positive anticipations (based on a feasible plan) will increase his self-confidence.

The formula against insomnia is crystal clear: Make a solid plan, implement it day after day, track your results, and make adjustments as necessary. You will be equipped with higher levels of self-reliance, with self-confidence benefiting all areas of your life. The feeling of certainty, of knowing where you are going, will reduce your stress, and naturally help you rest better at night without any sleeping pills.

Does it sound difficult? No wonder, because few endeavours are as demanding as changing the fundamental patterns of your life. If you want to achieve victory over insomnia without resorting to sleeping pills, I am afraid you will have to face effectively the key problems in your life, whether those are of medical, financial, or other nature. May your success be quick and uncontested so that, after a while, you will recall your temporary insomnia as just another milestone in your personal growth.

Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com

Image: Photograph of classical painting. Photograph taken by John Vespasian, 2019.

For more information about rational living, I refer you to my books

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Here are the links to several audio interviews just published:
  1. John Vespasian interviewed by Brian Price, Jennifer Gligoric and Tammy Geerling on "Leafy Podcast" about how highly-effective pople deal with disruptions.
  2. John Vespasian interviewed by Mike Wagner on "The Mike Wagner Show" about rational living.
  3. John Vespasian interviewed by Anthony Smith on "Changing World" about rational living.
  4. John Vespasian interviewed by Asyraaf Fero on "Focus on Winning" about becoming extraordinarily self-confident. Part 1 of 3.
  5. John Vespasian interviewed by Asyraaf Fero on "Focus on Winning" about becoming extraordinarily self-confident. Part 2 of 3.
  6. John Vespasian interviewed by Asyraaf Fero on "Focus on Winning" about becoming extraordinarily self-confident. Part 3 of 3.