Scientists have discovered something very strange that insomniacs will identify with. If you think you haven’t slept a wink all night, maybe you haven’t!

A professor of psychology at a University in Utah USA found that even though people seemed to be asleep, that is, they were in a “sleep pattern”, they could still be consciously aware.

Previously it was thought that if you were asleep then conscious awareness was impossible. Not always, apparently!

Some insomniacs in the study, when in the dreamless stage of sleep, actually showed signs of increased activity in some areas of their brain associated with conscious awareness.

What are they up to in the middle of the night?

To sleep or not to sleep?

The process of sleep requires the brain to send “inhibitory neurons” to reduce this conscious awareness, until a deep state of sleep is reached.

If that process is faulty then this can cause the insomniacs to be more consciously aware, leading them to feel that they haven’t had any, or much sleep.

Good sleepers were found to have similar activity in their brains, but fell into a deep sleep more quickly. They lost the conscious awareness more rapidly than the insomniacs.

What a pain! What can you do if you are an insomniac indulging in conscious awareness during your sleep pattern?

There was no mention as to whether the researchers tested the participants of the study for anxiety levels, but it could be possible that the insomniacs were still worrying, or feeling anxious about something.

Who knows?

Some answers

Don’t despair! There are some answers, and they are fairly simple.

Mindfulness meditation is mentioned as something that can help insomniacs lose conscious awareness and sleep better.

Keeping your head cool is another helpful tip. Sounds to me as though it is a good idea whether you are asleep or awake!

But seriously, keeping your pillow cool when you go to bed apparently helps you get off to a sound sleep. So make some room in your ‘frig for your pillow.

Pesky Pets

If you take your pets to bed with you and if they disrupt your sleep, well you know what to do…

Nothing worse than having a cat purring in your ear in the middle of the night. Or finding your loving mutt washing your face. It’s your choice!

Keep cool before bed, but warm the feet.

While it’s a good idea to keep a cool head, the opposite goes for your feet. Keep them warm by wearing socks.

Too stressed to sleep? Chill out first with mindfulness meditation

If you are excessively stressed by work, and your mind is still very active, try and have a “wind down” period before you hit the sack. (Not TV as this makes things worse) This is where mindfulness or meditation comes in. (See note below)

Or, Try Emotional Freedom Techniques, weird – but they work.

You can always try Emotional Freedom Techniques or EFT. Tapping with the fingers on the meridian system of the body (like acupressure) helps release stress. Researchers have found that using EFT reduces the level of cortisol in the body by a significant level. This reduction has a relaxing effect on the body. In addition, feel good hormones are also released. (See note below)

Sleepers anyone?

Sleeping pills give only marginal relief and have adverse side effects. They should only be used for a very short time. However, you could try valerian root which you can buy over the counter in pharmacies or in supermarkets. This helps you to relax and get off to sleep quicker. Sipping chamomile tea is also thought to help you relax if you sip just before bedtime. Peter Rabbit knew about this.

Still on the oral remedies

On a more sophisticated level you could try Melatonin which is natural and made by the body. It can help reduce restlessness and help with undue fatigue.

Or there’s 5-HTP a form of tryptophan which speeds up the sleeping process, improves the length of sleep and its quality.

Sleep Action!

  • You could follow up the oral remedies with your pharmacist.
  • You could learn EFT with me
  • Or you could also learn mindfulness and meditation with me

See my audio meditation here – join in and Chill Out for a bit 🙂

© Kathleen Crawford 2018 with information from


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