SLEEP EASY METHOD COMPARED WITH OTHER TREATMENTS
Despite serious and dramatic statistics, and even extensive media highlighting the ‘Sleep Epidemic’s’ impact on individuals and society, medical experts almost unanimously agree that behavioral sleep disorder treatments available to the widespread general public are insufficient.
The medical literature emphasizes drug solutions such as benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and various hypnotics to induce and/or maintain sleep. Even though sleeping pills can induce drowsiness, these sedatives do not promote deep sleep or REM sleep, which is the restorative or "restful sleep" part of the sleep cycle. This gives people the illusion of getting a full night of sleep, but they do not experience the restorative benefits of the sleep they really need. In addition, these drugs, classified as sedative hypnotics, are also known for having significant addictive complications along with causing dangerous unconscious nighttime behaviors and having other serious side effects.
Most of the behavioral sleep strategies have been developed by taking traditional relaxation methods and trying to apply them to sleep. These techniques often include general relaxation, deep breathing, visualization, mindfulness or meditation or even “bedtime story” strategies. These techniques applied to sleep do not have any or little basis in the scientific or medical literature. When clinically tested with application to serious sleep difficulties, these techniques are shown to have efficacy rates that are statistically insignificant or demonstrate results that are very low.
However, Sleep Easy is based on the somatic and neurophysiological literature regarding sleep, and its methodology has been designed to reestablish parasympathetic integration, which restores the feelings of comfort and safety that leads naturally to sleep. The Sleep Easy Method is a clinically-tested sleep treatment that is proven to improve sleep on the first night, and deepen sleep over successive nights with an 81.6% efficacy rate. For more information on this you can listen to the recording, The Sleep Easy Method: Background, Methodology and Clinical Efficacy found in the Resources section.
Sleep Easy’s methodology is based on the neurological switches that induce sleep — which is foundational for the effective treatment of sleep disorders and sleep difficulties. This is a fundamental component required for effective sleep treatment that is not understood by other approaches. In this recording we will review the most common sleep treatments in comparison to the Sleep Easy Method.
Many other sleep methods use guided visualization, such as imagining being in a peaceful nature scene. However, visualizing being in a location other than where the person actually is, encourages disassociation, which is a primary contributor to insomnia. With visualization techniques the mind becomes active as a way to avoid feeling discomfort. This leads to the dissociation of the mind from the body. Also, because visualization is another form of thinking and often requires effort, it activates the brain stimulating neurological activity that interferes with sleep.
In contrast, with the Sleep Easy method people feel deeply safe and comfortable inside their own body and in their current environment, through a somatic process and without thinking. The treatment methodology is designed to have clients comfortably feel the sensations inside their body and to feel safe being in their body. This helps resolve the mental and emotional discomfort that often leads to dissociation. Through this somatic-based process, Sleep Easy resolves the chronic anxiety, trauma, stress, fear and worry that interferes with sleep.
Other sleep methods use deep, slow or abdominal breathing, counting breaths, or techniques such as, “take a deep breath in and as you exhale, let go.” While deep, slow or abdominal breathing can be helpful for relaxation, for sleep it is shown to require too much physiological effort and is counterproductive for creating the somatic conditions for sleep.
Other breathing methods for sleep use terms like, “observe your breath” or “follow your breath.” However, these types of phrases encourage people to separate from the feeling in their breath, which perpetuates dissociation that interferes with sleep.
Sleep Easy instead encourages comfortable integration of mind and body. The method gives people an easy way to breathe in the natural way that occurs when sleeping. This methodology gives people experiencing sleep difficulties an effective way to fall asleep quickly and easily through a natural process that engages the neurophysiological systems associated with the body feeling of falling asleep. For more information on this topic, please review the Neurophysiology of the Sleep Easy Method in the Resource section.
Still other sleep methods use mindfulness body scans or progressive muscle relaxation which guides the person through an extensive process of tightening then relaxing muscles throughout the body. While overall body relaxation techniques can help people relax, it is rarely effective at helping people with sleep difficulties fall asleep. When relaxation methods are applied to sleep it is often insufficient. Because the physiology of sleep is very different from that of relaxation, and the techniques for general body relaxation require too much physical focus, these processes generally induce sleep, particularly for those struggling with significant ongoing sleep challenges.
However, the Sleep Easy method engages the body sensations and processes that occur naturally when falling asleep. Sleep Easy instead gives people a way to feel a few body sensations that engage the neurological processes associated with sleep. The Sleep Easy Method is developed on the neurophysiological principles underlying sleep, and gives people experiencing sleep difficulties a simple way and effective way to fall asleep quickly and easily through techniques that activate the somatic processes associated with the body feeling of falling asleep.
QUIETING THE MIND
Some other sleep methods focus on meditation, mindfulness or “quieting the mind”. These techniques often use imagery, such as “Thoughts drifting away like a helium-filled balloon.” Mediation and mindfulness techniques can be very useful in life, as they are designed to help people be present and awake. As such, these techniques are not fundamentally designed to help you sleep - but rather to create awareness. Meditation teachers often admonish their students to not fall asleep while meditating.
With Sleep Easy, a central principle is that the mind creates mental activity as a way to avoid feeling tension deep in the body. A primary feature of Sleep Easy is that people don’t have to try to quiet their mind. In the midst of whatever’s going on in their mind and emotions, there’s a simple way to create the body sensations of falling asleep. With that, the mind becomes quiet without effort. Sleep Easy allows physiological release of deep tension so the mind feels safe resting in the body. This doesn’t involve effort, like meditation or mindfulness practices, which many people find to be difficult.
Some other sleep methods utilize hypnotic suggestion. Hypnosis is often an uncomfortable process for many people, as the methodology is based on trying to bypass a person’s conscious mind. A high percentage of the population respond to this type of process with fear of loss of control and some people also have religious objections to hypnosis. Sleep Easy does not rely on hypnotic suggestion. Instead of trying to bypass the logical, conscious mind, Sleep Easy, respects the logical conscious mind, explaining all steps in a way that makes sense. The conscious mind then willingly joins in the process. In the Sleep Easy recordings, the talking is quiet and slow for the purpose of engaging the body and mind’s natural process of sleep.
COGNITIVE THERAPY METHODS
Other sleep methods use cognitive therapy modalities to help people have more positive thoughts, to “think like a good sleeper,” with the intention that will help people sleep better. It also focuses on cognitive restricting methods, encouraging people to stop thinking negative or stressful thoughts about their relationship to sleep. However, as we have all experienced, when we try to “not think” about something, we often end up thinking about it more. What we resist, persists.
However, since Sleep Easy makes it possible for most people to sleep better their first night, their experience of having a good night’s sleep then changes their thoughts about sleep—not the reverse sequence that cognitive methods use. When a person has the experience of sleeping well, that naturally changes their prior negative and stressful thoughts about their ability to sleep.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia, or CBT-I, is a specific cognitive therapy that also uses behavioral techniques involving stimulus control and sleep restriction. One of these is the advice that if you are not asleep in 20 minutes get out of bed. The intention of that intervention is so the person does not lie in bed anxious. However, having to get out of bed often creates more anxiety. Some people even say it feels like torture. The psychological literature on CBT-I consistently demonstrates low levels of compliance with sleep restriction which leads to poor overall clinical efficacy of that aspect of the treatment. For more information about this topic you can listen to the recording in the Resource section titled, Sleep Easy Compared with CBT-I.
In summary, Sleep Easy is different from other sleep methods. Developed over two decades, this technique is a scientifically-based and clinically-proven treatment designed to help people suffering from even the most severe sleep challenges—to help them sleep more easily and deeply. Based on the neurophysiological principles underlying sleep, Sleep Easy provides a simple way to feel several body sensations that engage the natural pathways that create the feeling of falling asleep. This physiological state creates an “inner pathway to sleep” that has most people sleep better their first night and makes sleep easier as they continue to use the method. Sleep Easy fundamentally transforms people’s relationship to sleep, and in turn, positively impacts all areas of their lives.