THE SLEEP EASY METHOD:
BACKGROUND, METHODOLOGY AND CLINICAL EFFICACY
I am Dr. Richard Shane and I'm the developer of the Sleep Easy Method. Sleep Easy is a comprehensive sleep solution that has been designed over 25 years in clinical collaboration with many of the leading experts in the area of sleep treatment.
I have been a psychotherapist since 1977. In the 1990s, as a result of a life crisis, I developed severe insomnia. I didn't want to become dependent upon sleep medication and other sleep treatments weren't effective. Through applying my professional expertise in mind-body medicine I was able to unlock neurological components that are integral to sleep and to the treatment of insomnia. This work led me to develop the innovative and comprehensive approach of the Sleep Easy method.
For over two decades, I have worked with thousands of clients specializing in treating people who suffer from chronic insomnia. I also have expertise in working with police officers, pilots, firefighters and medical personnel whose sleep is more than a matter of health, but is a matter of safety, potentially affecting life-or-death decisions. The Sleep Easy method has been used by major corporations, including Hewlett-Packard, Ball Aerospace, Coors Brewing Company, United Airlines, Xcel Energy, Marathon Oil and many others.
Sleep Easy's methodology is based on the neurological switches that induce sleep — which we have found to be foundational for the effective treatment of sleep disorders and sleep difficulties.
Through my experiences treating patients who have suffered from chronic insomnia and other sleep challenges, I discovered two distinct and important neurophysiological factors implicated in the body's process for evoking sleep.
First, there are several body sensations that are like switches in the nervous system that create the body feeling of falling asleep without effort.
Second, the neurophysiological processes associated with sleep are the same in almost everyone. When people engage these somatic pathways of sleep, it creates a feeling of familiar biological recognition that induces sleep.
In developing the Sleep Easy Method there are three important and fundamental goals:
First, to fall asleep more quickly and easily.
Second, to fall back to sleep more quickly and easily.
And third, to sleep more deeply so people have fewer unwanted awakenings and feel more rested in the morning.
Sleep Easy is founded on key somatic and physiological processes associated with sleep. An example of one fundamental component of this treatment, is that the method gives people an easy way to feel the breathing process that occurs when sleeping—which is different from the usually-suggested deep or abdominal breathing. This engages neurological pathways that occur during sleep, involving the brain and organ processes that calm the mind, body and emotions, that naturally lead into sleep. With this process the parasympathetic nervous system is engaged, which reduces the stress responses in the body and restores the body to the physiological state of deep rest. This relaxed physiological state creates a feeling of internal safety, even when external conditions are stressful.
Internal safety is a fundamental factor required for good sleep that is not understood by most other approaches. When the nervous system experiences the feeling of internal safety, the body is lulled into sleep without effort.
Incorporating principles central to the field of somatic treatment of trauma, Sleep Easy's treatment processes are based on the understanding that the root cause of sleep difficulties comes from underlying anxiety, stress and trauma in the body. When trying to sleep, this tension elicits a sympathetic nervous system response corresponding to the state "It's not safe to be here in this situation." This state then leads to "It's not safe to be in my body," which leads to "It's not safe to rest." In response to this stress and threat to one's safety, the body's sympathetic nervous system is activated, which results in an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate. Even though this experience is often not conscious, the sympathetic nervous system triggers a "fight or flight" physiological response that activates the body into a state of hyperarousal or hypervigilance, which is detrimental to the conditions required for sleep.
Sleep Easy gives people a way to reestablish parasympathetic integration and restore the feelings of comfort and safety that leads naturally to sleep. The process provides an effective way to alleviate core body tension, creating a deep feeling of internal safety, even in the midst of life conditions that are stressful or don't feel safe.
By applying principles of the neurophysiology of sleep, Sleep Easy method gives people a practical and effective way to fall asleep quickly and easily, along with relieving anxiety and other mental or emotional discomfort that has made sleep difficult. Dr. Stephen Porges is Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois Chicago. He is Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University and an Internationally-renowned Neuroscientist and Expert in Somatic Treatment of Trauma. Dr. Porges developed the Polyvagal Theory, which has revolutionized our understanding of the nervous system. Dr. Porges says about Sleep Easy, "Dr. Shane has discovered a way to create the neurophysiology of safety." For more information on this process, you can reference the article in the Resources section titled "The Neurophysiology of Sleep Easy".
In a clinical study published in the Journal of Sleep Disorders and Therapy, the Sleep Easy Method was tested by police, firefighters, commercial airline pilots and the general public. 81.6% of the participants reported improved sleep, both in sleep initiation and maintenance, and the vast majority reported their sleep began to improve their first night or within the first few nights. The observed changes were significant and had corresponding large effect sizes. In addition, 64% of subjects using sleep medications reported reduced dose or frequency of such substances. On the post-treatment assessment, 55.1% additionally reported feeling significantly better during the day and 36.7% reported a significant reduction in anxiety and stress. For more information about this clinical study, you can find the published article in the More section of this app.