My New Brain

I am not alive or dead. My muscles are wood and my skull is cracking. I swear it’s cracking. Someone’s tightening my heart like it’s a screw and I hear the world from underwater. Sound and images blur, broken like my brain.

In truth, I have no idea how I built this blog sleeping once every four days. That’s on a good month. But I’m not writing to detail the insomnia hell that’s been my life these twenty-five years. In fact, I’d rather not get into it so please respect my wish on the comment board. I write to share a breakthrough I’ve experienced because while I have felt completely alien among the people in my life who look so rested and functional, over 60 million people are supposed to suffer insomnia in America alone. If you happen to be among them, yes, I’ve read your posts. I’ve plenty understood. You might find freedom from your living nightmare here. Or maybe you can share this treasure with someone who is suffering.

I heard about Sleep Tracks from a doctor over the summer. Familiar with neurofeedback and the fact that our alpha, beta, theta brain waves are supposed to be running in a certain pattern, I saw the validity of what I was reading and got the tracks right away. Yan, the mastermind behind these audios that reset your waves, offers a selection of tracks to help you find what is suitable for you. There are sounds for those who can’t shut down and for those who can’t stay asleep. Pulses to help you nap while enhancing your night sleep, pulses that ease anxiety. There was some stop-and-go while I experimented but I clocked in more sleep in July than I had the whole year up ’til then. I was off and running, able to attend the homeschool conferences and work on a music project – so productive that I couldn’t blog. After a little over a month, I had trouble sleeping with the tracks; my body was telling me I didn’t need them anymore. It was unreal. I could…just sleep. Life then threw a curveball and I’ve been in the process of disentangling from some unexpected challenges, but the tracks have been helpful again most nights. I can’t tell you the things I have tried and were willing to try over the maddening years. What works wonders for others would only aggravate my pains. But these audios have given me a taste of life beyond mere existence and survival.

If you get the audios, you are privy to an online sleep course with practical, useful guides and information that help you take ownership and regain control of your sleep issues. (I love Yan’s French accent.) If you want to talk to the man, he may take a day or two to get back to you but will provide knowledgeable guidance. As for those of you who’ve never had trouble sleeping, I think you’re weird. I find you very difficult to understand. (Wanna trade bodies for a day? A day in the !@#! life of Holistic Wayfarer. Will give you post ideas.)

216 thoughts on “My New Brain

  1. You know my sleep issues: anxiety produced. Anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medicines help me sleep, but would love to stop taking them. Will look into this. Thanks for the lead.


  2. Sound can be relaxing; I think that’s why people like music. When I’m moving along a creek fishing, I sometimes hit a spot where the sounds of the water are particularly clear. I always stop and sit and just listen for a while. I close my eyes and let the water sounds wash over me. I always feel refreshed after that.

  3. I rarely sleep for longer than two hours. But I can generally get enough of those naps to survive – sometime I just cannot seem to wake up despite cup after cup of black tea. Those are the strange days. Best of luck getting your snoozes in!

  4. I’ve been on and off with insomnia at different times in my life but am currently suffering more so than ever so this is a very timely and relevant post for me. I will definitely check out Sleep Tracks. Thanks so much!

  5. Thank you for this info, I’m definitely going to try it. Anxiety is more of an issue for me than insomnia but both I would imagine involve obsessive thoughts and not being able to shut down.

    I hope it continues to work for you. Loss of sleep is no joke.

    • You got it, T. Chk out the testimonials on his page. Many stay happily stay on the tracks. I appreciate how he encourages folks to become independent of them, too. Let me know how you like.


  6. I used to actively practice neurofeedback therapy, both as a patient and as a provider. I haven’t heard of the tools/technique that you mention but it’s been a while since I was active. I definitely know we’re learning a lot about brainwave activity, how to affect it and the benefits we can receive from it. I am going to definitely look into the product you describe. I don’t have the chronic problem you’ve been dealing with but I think we all can benefit from occasional “tune-ups” to our brainwave activity!

  7. I repeat fantasy daydreams. In time they get boring and put me to sleep, that and half a pill of Ibuprofen PM. I can usually find sleep in a half hour or so, unless, of course, I have to get up really early the next morning. Then all bets are off. It’s 3 to 4 hours max. Good luck with your new brain. May the old one rest in peace. –Curt

  8. I know my husband sometimes listens to a cd that helps him to focus or to relax (depending on the track), making use of different brain waves. I did not know there were special ones to help you sleep. Good to hear that you are sleeping better now!

  9. Insomnia is universal. So glad you found some help. I get a break this time of year. With seasonal allergies, I can take Benadryl at night and get 7 hours straight. It makes the sneezing and itchy eyes worth it. ☺

  10. Hope it works for you. My family thinks I’m weird since I can function perfectly on only 4 to 6 hrs of sleep while they need 8 to 10. If I go over 6 hrs I get headaches and feel worse than before. Of course I do indulge and sleep in on the weekends but by then I rather take a pain pill for the headache just to have the few extra hours of being in my comfy bed as I’m up at 4:30 am on weekdays. Best wishes 🙂

    • He actually talks – in the sleep course – about how different people require diff amt of sleep. I clocked in 5.5 last night and woke feeling more rested than I had in a while. Thanks for being here. And I envy all those hours your efficient brain frees you up for. =)

  11. Interesting. I have spent a lifetime struggling with sleep and the accompanying daytime fatigue. In my teens and 20s, it was insomnia several nights a week. Once I had kids, my insomnia went away, but now I wake up far too frequently and don’t get the kind of deep sleep needed. I’m able to get eight hours of “sleep” most nights, but wake up tired and spend the day tired. Your post and the website definitely has me intrigued.

    • He has a track called Whole Night for light sleepers like you. The sleep course is informative, even enjoyable. He explains why you wake feeling as you do despite the “solid eight” hrs you get (the 8 is a myth. And I slept about 5.5 last night and felt better than I had in a while). That is terrible you lived much of your life as I have. This guy is for real. Hope you do chk it out.

      • He talks about that. (I can’t remember the options he gives you for that quandary bc I skimmed over that part.) I followed his guidelines religiously except for that one (just one!) thing. He says no headphones in bed only bc they might be cumbersome and get in the way of sleep. I use light ones – not the thick headset with foamy ears and a band between them. But the thin rubbery wires, one bud in each ear, and they don’t hinder sleep. They plug right into the iPhone which hubby downloaded the tracks onto.

  12. I don’t envy your lack of sleep, that’s not a nice problem. Mirtazapine has ultra-sleepy effects, for what that’s worth.

  13. I hear you! I’m an insomniac too. It’s exhausting. I have about 200 meditations and brain wave pieces on my ipod. If you can’t sleep, may as well change your life by forging new neuropathways, what the Hell, right? Good luck!

      • Well, I guess it depends on what is keeping you up. However, I found not actually sleep but some other state of mind with BrainSync meditations by Kelly Howell, very positive guided ones and subliminal, in case you feel like arguing, it’s ocean waves. But I’d get through the day without crashing. Also, try acupuncture. There are teas, amazing teas from the Huon (sp?) Dynasty that are quite powerful. Again, it depends on what is keeping you up. I’ve dealt with it for over 10 years now and just recently started to get a little better. Good luck!

      • Those particular teas I haven’t tried but no tea has been strong enough for me. And as I mentioned on this board, yes, thanks acuptr is awesome. My guy happens to be an hr away. Been difficult getting to him regularly.

      • These teas are strong, I did find them online but I think first it is best to see an acupuncturist to see what is recommended. Quite a science behind it. Actually not about sleep but what part of the body is supposed to be rejuvenating itself during the time you are awake. What emotions or trauma are stored in that body part or organ? Holistic at it’s best. Worth checking out.

  14. I’m entering the point of menopause where sleep patterns are disturbed, an uncomfortable thing for someone who’s always counted on sleep to help refuel for the day. Thank you for sharing this information! I’m going to look into this. I want to avoid pharmacologic sleep aids – herbal teas haven’t helped.

  15. It seems to be a more common problem with women than with men and it is a horrible condition. I know from observation just how debilitating this can be. Glad you found a solution. My wife discovered that going to bed early produced the 8 hours she needed after experimenting with doctors prescriptions that did not work. She was lucky to get a couple of hours sleep a night for years until she just made the simple decision to go to bed early. I suppose different things work for different people.

    • I was just thinking that very thing, Ian, that this does afflict more women than men (which I’ve jabbed at in my comedic posts.) That was wise of your wife to toss the drugs and listen to her body. There is a lot of wisdom and sense in that. It is best to follow the cadence of nature and its energy and to start shutting ourselves down with the setting sun. Postmoderners have screwed up our circadian rhythm, not getting enough daylight and extending our nights (usu. both by the overuse of technology). I can go. But I don’t think I should squeeze 12 yrs of study on holistic health into this comment box. =) I appreciate the sympathy.

  16. Sorry to hear you suffer from insomnia. I feel you. I too struggle to wind down each night. The other day I decided to do some quiet reading before sleep. Read a bit from a book about finding inspiration. Ended up having a nightmare and having one of the worse sleeps I had in a while. I’m a deep, hard sleeper, and a lot of the time fear I won’t hear my alarm clock in the morning. So these days I lie in bed and wait for falling asleep to come around…in an hour. Here’s to sleeping well to the both of us 🙂

  17. Pingback: My Article Read (10-24-2015) | My Daily Musing

  18. So glad you shared this. Our foster child has anxiety related insomnia (and PTSD) and we stumbled upon something very similar online and were thinking of getting it for her–it’s worth a try.

    Glad to hear you’re feeling a little more rested.

    • Been thinking of you, AM. It is something, the things we learn about one another out here. Poor thing. What a blessing for her to have ended up in your home. I believe Yan said his tracks are ok for kids as long as they don’t have seizures. You can chk out the FAQs if interested. The anxiety track has a pleasing sound and he said you can listen to it any time of day. He may be able to provide some guidance if he knew her situation. I’d love to know what you try for her (sounds like you were leaning toward the other product) and how it goes. Whatever works!


  19. My disrupted sleep died after my sister died. Then my cycling accident-concussion threw my sleep in chaos. It’s been a long process after sleeping pills, now I can get abit more sleep. Not perfect. I did see a sleep doctor specialist. I do have a regime. One of them is no computer face time 4 hrs. before I go to bed. I’m slipping off the wagon there.

  20. I guess I’m one of those weird ones because I have no trouble sleeping. But, on the rare occasions I don’t get enough sleep I feel pretty miserable. I can’t imagine what that would be like long term. I’d probably just cry for most of the day.

  21. I have no problem falling to sleep. Usually about 4 hours later I am awake due to the “call of nature”. Getting back to sleep after that has always been my issue.
    Thank you for sharing. I would like to look into this!

  22. I sincerely sympathise with anyone suffering from insomnia, and know how debilitating real lack of sleep can be. I’ve suffered with it for most of my life, and I’m in my late 60s now. But the pattern of mine has changed over the years. When I was at work, it was definitely anxiety induced and I couldn’t get off to sleep most nights. Now I ‘m retired, I usually manage to nod off, only to wake an hour or so later. I never sleep more than two hours at a time, and every time I wake, it takes ages to get back to sleep. I’ll look into those sleep tracks, so thank you for that. I’d never heard of them.

  23. What a happy find! Sleep is so odd. My eldest needs 10 to 12 hours a day, my wife 8 to 9, and I get by on 6 to 7, but really, really like an early afternoon or early evening nap of about 10 minutes. If I sleep long after a number of short nights I feel like crap. A whole science behind this!

  24. My difficulties sleeping (both falling asleep and staying/returning to sleep) started long ago (my mid-20’s). Later on, and for the past 10 years or so, I grew to rely on an over-the-counter sleep-inducing medication daily at bedtime—because without it there was just no chance of me ever falling asleep. Yet I am now completely drug-free for the past 5 months since identifying and addressing my own food-sensitivity issues. [For some of us (not all, of course) food sensitivities can play a role in many different conditions—but it’s a very individualized thing, which will typically involve having more than one type of condition/symptom.]
    Thank you for this valuable information, HW. So many suffer greatly in this way and need help well beyond medication.

  25. I’m not trouble-free as to sleeping, but I’m pretty sure you may add one more item to your collections of perceptions that i may just be weird. *may, nothing is …proven… … oh, who am I kidding?

  26. It’s all about women. You put to much soul into everything that surrounds you. Stop asking yourself if the soup is good or the short is not ironed enough. You have a beautiful big mind with too many antennas to read others people minds. I am glad that you start to recover and welcome back to the weirdo land. All the best to you Adrian B.

    • Ha ha ha. I live among weird people so I shouldn’t feel too out of place out here. =) I feel your poet’s heart, AB. A lot of this is beyond my control – but then some of it is and yes, I am my worst enemy at times. I will stop trying to read your mind. LOL.

  27. Refreshing, energising sleep must be such a gift. I sleep. Mostly. But it rarely feels like sleep. I wake exhausted. Just one of the gifts of chronic fatigue. I try to use the time my tired-out brain and aching body can’t do the ‘normal’ stuff to pray. I wouldn’t do so much of it if I could run about doing other things. Now, you will now drift onto my mind and my prayers too.

    On another note, when I taught, I used music to enhance learning; it does something akin to magic to our brains. Mozart and Baroque are particularly powerful, but I think you’ll already know far more about that than I do.

    Sending you love …

    • Thanks so much , Julia. Oh, I hear you. I imagine you’ve tried a lot of things. One of the tracks is for shallow sleep, if you ever have the inkling or wherewithal to look into it. Feel free to write me off the board on the topic, too, for other relaxation aids. And yes, as I’ve mentioned, our curriculum uses (really, relies on) music to enable the prodigious memory work. Sometimes I’ll set a sentence to song if there isn’t a good one in the curriculum. T gobbles it down. =) I appreciate the prayers. Take good care of yourself.


  28. There once was a man who brought his cross that he bore to Jesus. He claimed that it was too much to bear. He asked Jesus if he could trade it for another. Jesus said sure you can. So Jesus took his cross and placed it in a room that had countless crosses of various sizes, shapes and colors. Then the man was told to choose his new cross. The man placed many of the crosses he saw upon his shoulder. Yet was not satisfied with any, and he spent much time in search of the right one. Then finally he found one leaning against a wall that he happily told Jesus was the one that he wanted. Jesus said, “Very well, it is yours to take with. But, there is one thing you must know. The cross you chose, is the very one you came in with.”
    We may not like the trials which we find ourselves in the throes of, but like an old pair of shoes, they fit us best.

  29. Sounds like you’ve been on quite an inner journey and a very important one. I’ve wondered what you’ve been up to, Diana. I’ve experienced some sleepless nights- mostly stress induced and they are no fun. I love that you’ve found some powerful tools to play with.. and, being the writer you are, turning your experience with it into story for us. xo

  30. Personally, I believe… If you exercise everyday… That helps to get a good night sleep… But then again… I don’t know how insomnia feels like…

  31. Diana, My husband struggles with sleep issues. He has ever since I have known him (over 25 years.) Sleep issues end up affecting every aspect of your life. (I know from observation, not from personally experiencing it.) Hang in there and keep “experimenting” to find what works for you!

  32. Bad sleep and countless studies I knew for decades. Not a parent but close enough and animals with babies. I easi;y wake up. Since I am ten I have a fan blowing. Most ppl need some sort of white noise, hypnotism or it just being cold. Trial and error between them all and meds that allow me to be functionalt had been an interesting thing. Drs assuminf what works for one oerson works for another is bad all around. I will get my light rem and never sure of what possibilities I have. I should set odd to how many dreams, repeaters, long sleep, many awakening, waking up gasping and others. 🙂

  33. When people used to tell me they suffered from insomnia I laughed. How ignorant of me. For I, I fell into that trap. I fell into it when my kids are with their dad for two weeks. Every night for two weeks I found myself pacing. Pacing every corner of my house. Pacing and thinking what the hell is happening to me. Then, then I find peace when it’s my turn to have them. The peace that lasts 14 days…I feel you…

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