For six months, I couldn't sleep. With insomnia, nothing is real. Everything is far away. Everything is a copy of a copy of a copy.
Have I been going to bed earlier at night? Have I been sleeping later?
- One of our many problems is sleeping enough... Sometimes the problem is that there's just not enough hours in a day for all of us to do what we'd like to do. Sometimes the problem is that someone starts thinking in the middle of the night and can't stop. They're too busy thinking -- maybe more than one of us get thinking together about something, and then we're too awake to go back to sleep...so we just get up, take care of whatever we have to so that we can go back to sleep or wait until we get sleepy again. It's rough. We're pretty happy if we get over 6 hrs of sleep a night. Sometimes it's much less. It's a pretty rare occasion that we sleep 8 hours. -- XES
- For us non-sleeping can also be caused by a basic distrust of sleep. For some it feels like dying, that letting go and falling over or in. For others we simply don't know who what or where we will wake up as. For some it is considered unnesscary and/or a drug, as if the planetary conciousness wants to shut us down or put us to sleep. Others simply forget how to get there. And yet at least one other there is no difference tween waking and dreaming. That last state leads straight into the loss of surroundings or overlay experience. -- Phoenix/Paradox
- For many of us, we stay awake in a state of "hyper-vigilance", as a part of PTSD, as protection against the trauma we experienced, probably at night. We don't dare sleep. -- Forest
- Can also be a way to try to avoid switching / loss of control. Probably an ultimately futile way, but sometimes we've gone into vigilance mode over that too. Or to keep dreams away. (Same diff.) -- MaryAlice/Seachild
- All of us have things that we would like to do, and we have plans that we would like to accomplish, at least incrementally. Sleep cuts into our naturally limited wakefulness. When two or three of us have to work every day, the rest of us have time to think and debate but when you get right down to it sometimes you need another pair of hands (though we would actually need four or five pairs of hands, and probably eyes also) to carry out tasks or work on things. If we have to cut the amount of sleep the body gets, so be it. We are also very stubborn that way. --The Doctor, of Shards
Insomnia is a common problem for multiples and the reasons may be many --given the circumstances it may be more a curiosity when a multiple conistantly attains normal types and amounts of sleep.
Causes for insomnia in multiples vary, and here are some notable ones:
- Control Issues
- Sleep means losing control of oneself -- and someone else may take over. Some multiples have distrust of themselves and their others. If medication is a consideration it is very likely that melatonin is going to be insufficicent -- it doesn't incapacitate the body and the sleep it produces is mainly normal.
- Internal Conversations
- When the body is less busy, there is more time to review the day or upcoming plans. When frontmost thoughts are quiet, those persons normally in the recesses of the mind may finally be able to make their thoughts known. The internal chatter is disruptive. Meditation and clearing the mind or giving time for a stream-of-consciousness journal may help with this type of insomnia. Also purposely using these times while trying to fall asleep to hold internal meetings may be helpful.
- Chemical Imbalances
- Melatonin is produced by the body when in dim light and it aids in going to sleep. Try dimming lights to help produce more melatonin naturally.
- PTSD - Fear & Anxiety
- When something traumatic happens it can result in triggers and sleep, darkness, times of the day, etc. can become triggers. If trauma happened at night it can result in an inability to sleep at night, etc. This may be a serious problem warranting self work at least or possibly external help. Other items listed on this page may help as well.
- Busy Mind
- If things are left unfinished or you need to make plans for upcoming events, etc. your mind may be too busy to sleep. Try the making lists suggestion below.
- Resentment of Sleep
- If there are so many people in your system with so much to do, maybe there is resentment towards sleep or the necessity for sleep stealing time from the group. My best suggestion for this problem is better time management skills. Sleep is a necessity and if time is handled more efficiently, the time necessary for sleep can be agreed on as a group, and waking hours can be spent in as balanced and fair a manner as possible.
- Repressed Persons Acting Out
- In some multiple systems there are persons who -- for whatever reason -- do not come front during the day or are not allowed to come front during the day. Whether they repress themselves or are repressed by the system doesn't matter so much as the fact that they are not given time and the ability to express themselves but they still have a general need to express themselves in some way.
- Different Sleep Schedules
- If people in your system are waking up at different times of the day, they may also be going to sleep at different times of the night. It's time for an internal meeting and starting to delegate some bedtime tasks to internals. Start waking others up at the time you need to get up, and putting children to bed when it's time to go to sleep. Internal landscapes can be helpful, or just have nurturers read bedtime stories to your littles and tuck them in at night. Remember, it's an internal family in there. You may have to enforce (gently) an internal family bedtime.
In addition to the suggestions above, a multiple may seek additional methods for helping them get sufficient sleep. Note that none of this should be considered medical advice and that you should always seek out information for any conditions you experience that are affecting your health and sanity. Think independently, research your choices, etc. This information is here as a list of items to consider, research, and to consult with the appropriate and knowledgeable authorities with.
- Allowing New Sleep
- Reframe how you go to sleep. It's a skill of sorts to get out of your own way so that sleep can happen. That said, sleep is an "allow" not a "try". You can't try to sleep. Sleep requires much less effort, it's more like floating in a pool — you can't try, you have to allow. Relax into it.
- Assess and Gradually Eliminate Stimulants
- If you have problems sleeping consider your overall health and the presence of chemicals you introduce to your system. Smoking and caffiene are stimulants, for example. You should consider cutting down or eliminating them by choosing a wise method of gradual detox and appropriate nutritional supplements to support the body through withdrawal phases.
- Clearing the mind of thoughts. Grounding. With racing thoughts and not even being grounded in one's body -- how can one sleep? Even slowing down, dimming the lights, breathing slowly and deeply, listening to a meditation tape, etc. can help prepare the mind and body for sleep. It is unreasonable to expect to go from racing around all day to laying still and shutting down for a while.
- Have an out-of-body experience -- I know that multiples spend a lot of time out-of-body already but maybe it helps to ground later if there is appropriate contrast and the need to be out of body is filled on purpose rather than people having to yank the body-mind around during waking hours? I (Crisses) often fall asleep while out of body -- or maybe only my body falls asleep -- but really THAT is the point right?
- If people have something to say let them say it -- take the time out for stream-of-consciousness journaling and let them think on paper. Plan a half-hour to hour of journaling before bedtime.
- Bedtime Rituals
- Take a bath, relax, plan out things to do, make a checklist and make a habit of following it -- once a pattern is established, the pattern itself may become associated with sleep.
- Ban Thinking
- You can't think yourself to sleep. You can daydream yourself to sleep. It's not a time for plotting, planning, strategizing, logic-ing or thinking. It's not a time for realistic daydreams or thinking about tomorrow. It's a time to say I wonder what it would be like to be a bee that looks like a cat except big wings and pollinates catnip flowers...and visualize it. So work on this as a habit. Ban thinking once you're in bed. Allow "daydreaming", visualizing snuggling with each other in your headspace, or curl up with one of your spirit guides (like our black panther who is warm and fuzzy), close your eyes and go into your imagination. No plotting, no planning, no thinking… and if you forgot something, see the next tip (we keep pen and paper by the bed, jot a note, roll over go back to dreaming-ness).
- The Notepad
- So many people, so little time! Ideas keep us up and wake us up. Sleeping with pen and notebook is vital for us. Don't research, don't think, don't try to remember while sleeping. Write a note on what needs research, what needs thought or the thing you forgot to do on the pad and check it in the morning. We can jot down reminders and people can sleep better knowing that we have a list of items to look into in the morning. This works for days before a vacation for example, when we lay down and get anxious about items we forgot to pack — we can write them down and pack them in the morning. I find this especially important when there is an important upcoming event, like a trip or if I am giving a class.
- Internal Meetings
- Laying in the dark and trying to go to sleep can be a good time to meet and greet, air problems, work out solutions and changes, etc. but only if you find these things calming, and need to unpack the day before you can sleep.
- The body produces sleep-enhancing and inducing chemicals when it is dark. Dim the lights before bedtime, meditate in the dark, make sure the bedroom is dark when you sleep, etc. as long as there is no one afraid of the dark in your system.
- A healthy body really does help produce a healthier mind -- the body is more likely to produce the proper sleep-enhancing chemicals after a workout. Plan for 1/2 hr cooldown after exercise and at least another half hour to relax before you expect to sleep.
- Progressive Relaxation
- This is a field-tested (literally) method of falling asleep reliably. The issue is that some folk do not do well with getting more in touch with their body. If you do this method, note that you don't have to be fully IN your body to allow your body to relax. If you have a hard time with this method, perhaps consider visualizing being in your inner world in a cuddle pile with your best protectors, or if you don't have an inner world, picture your protectors surrounding you and that you are safe. Medium article (content notification: it's a military-based method, so there's mention of military situations & terminology)
- If you have triggers associated with time of day, or bedtime rituals, or being asleep, etc. then it's time to work on trigger deprogramming. EFT (the free & at-home method), EMDR (the licensed-therapist method), or ART (accelerated resolution therapy), etc. can be helpful for trigger deprogramming related to going to bed or nighttimes.
- In a crunch I found that a single tiny dose of melatonin helped me sleep for a week -- like my body is so wired all the time it forgot how to make the right sleep chemicals. Melatonin is one of the chemicals our bodies are supposed to make when it is dark that helps us sleep -- it is now available as an over-the-counter supplement in the vitamin section of many stores. Read up on dosages, medication interactions and side effects before trying any supplements.
- Valerian Root
- This is the root of a plant, usually taken in the form of pills of the powder or in tincture form -- it tends to smell bad although cats may like it. It induces unnatural groggyness and cant be used if you need to be vigilant or able to wake up easily (ie not a wise choice for parents). Some multiples find it stimulating rather than sleep-inducing. Approach with caution and research for appropriate dosages, side effects, medication interactions, etc. I have done valerian on a rare basis but did not like waking up feeling messed up, and the difficulty waking in the middle of the night, so I stopped. I also tried valerian to help with sleeping through bad headaches but it didn't help there.
- One might wish to consider medicating the problem. Sleep deprivation is serious and if self-help, natural & folk remedies or over-the-counter meds will not work, it may be wise to seek professional help to determine if prescription cures are warranted.
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