Posted by Mike Furci (12/17/2010 @ 9:20 am)
Understanding Why and How Insomnia Occurs:
The most commonly reported sleep disorder is insomnia; having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, or the inability to get quality sleep throughout the night. According to Dr. Naiman, one of the most common symptoms of insomnia is a condition called “cognitive popcorn:”
“Cognitive popcorn is something that occurs when you put your head down, trying to go to sleep or trying to get back to sleep in the middle of the night, and suddenly your mind starts to produce all of these thoughts. They’re unwanted thoughts, uncontrollable thoughts. It’s as if the mind has a mind of its own. That’s a very common complaint that keeps people awake.”
In order to understand why you can’t sleep, you need to understand that sleep is the outcome of an interaction between two classes of variables: sleepiness and “noise.
1. Sleepiness – Under normal conditions, your sleepiness should gradually increase throughout the day, peaking just before you go to bed at night. This is ideal, as you want your sleepiness to be high at the beginning of the night.
2. “Noise” – refers to any kind of stimulation that inhibits or disrupts sleep. If noise is conceptually greater than your level of sleepiness, you will not fall asleep.
“Noise” occurs in three zones: the mind level, body level, and the environmental level.
Dr. Naiman gives this example: “If you’re energized during the day, you’re feeling passionate, you want to move, be productive and so on, that’s great. But if that experience occurs in the middle of the night, that becomes a kind of noise.”
The most common type of mind noise, however, is the “cognitive popcorn;” unstoppable thoughts running through your mind at night.
Examples of body noise include pain, discomfort, indigestion, side e...