For many years I helped patients improve their sleep using non-pharmacological treatments. In 2010, I was asked to join a team of eight sleep experts from around the nation to help the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) develop training to make insomnia treatment more accessible to Veterans. That experience changed everything for me.
Sleep will naturally and gradually begin to seep through when we let go of effort. Relinquishing sleep effort is about letting go of our waking self -- our sense of who we believe we are. It's about willingly losing the battle for control of sleep by realizing that falling asleep cannot be controlled. Sleep is, in essence, a free ride for all those who are simply willing to be passengers.
Just like clockwork, it's time to get up and pee again. If it seems like the bane of getting a continuous night of sleep in middle age and beyond, it may not have to be. Learn a surprising reason why you may have to wake to urinate at night and how improvement can occur without seeing a urologist, but a sleep specialist instead.
Gregg Jacobs is an insomnia specialist at the Sleep Disorders Center at the UMass Memorial Medical Center and the author of Say Good Night to Insomnia. In answer to my questions, he shared his insights on how human sleep patterns have changed over time, healthier and more effective alternatives to sleeping pills, and how to reverse our worst sleep habits and behaviors.