by Leo Owen
Over the years I've suffered from various infuriating bouts of insomnia, both short-term (between one and four weeks) and long-term. Occasionally I've been able to self-diagnose my condition as “Secondary” insomnia, clearly caused by other underlying problems I was undergoing at the time like work-related stress.
I've researched my tormentor and was unsurprised to discover women are more prone to suffer from insomnia and that with age, I'm more likely to experience an increase in sleepless nights – after all statistics say one in two adults over the age of 65 are likely to encounter the frustrations of sleep deprivation.
Statistics say one in two adults over the age of 65 are likely to encounter the frustrations of sleep deprivation
It's worth noting that “sleep deprivation” or insomnia is not just about nights spent repeatedly watching the clock or frustratingly early wake-ups but primarily the quality of sleep each individual gets in order to rest and repair the body. Most adults require seven to eight hours of sleep a night but everyone is different. I've always been able to function with less than the norm but when less has frequently diminished to nothing more than a few hours, I've sought help.
Rather than risk diabetes, obesity, heart disease or high blood pressure, I've tried to pinpoint the cause to eradicate the problem and avoid chronic insomnia. Finding that inner demon isn't always easy. Some folks suffer from insomnia as a result of psychological health problems like grief while others have physical complaints like asthma, are experiencing temporary insomnia as a result of medical side-effects or are affected by environmental factors like street noise and heat.
Rather than risk diabetes, obesity, heart disease or high blood pressure, I've tried to pinpoint the cause
My personal causes combine environmental hindrances with poor personal lifestyle habits, including irregular sleep routines and late meals. Recently undergoing yet another sleepless stint, I despaired after attempting to change bad daily habits and experiencing no improvement. Living on the top floor of a flat block with a house cat preventing the opening of bedroom windows is hot work. Through all of October and the start of November, I relied on a fan to cool my sweltering bedroom but continued to suffer from heat-induced insomnia.
Having previously turned to herbal remedies like Nytol and more powerful prescribed drugs, this time I decided to explore other avenues. Australian composer, John Levine once worked alongside bands like INXS and Midnight Oil but now devotes his time to creating a range of therapeutic CDs he calls “Alphamusic”. The latest addition to his back-catalogue aims to treat sleeplessness in women by relaxing and calming and is the perfect companion to his previous release, Amber, which claims to have the same effect on men.
John Levine now devotes his time to creating a range of therapeutic CDs he calls 'Alphamusic'
I'm somewhat sceptical a mere CD is going to solve my increasingly infuriating problem but willingly give it a go. I can no longer work with music playing in the background, finding myself easily distracted with a tendency to focus on lyrics so I'm mildly optimistic the first night I listen to Orange Grove Siesta and discover there are no vocals or indeed distinct tunes.
Several weeks after Orange Grove first entered the bedroom, I'm actually waking up feeling more rested
Getting the volume right is a problem but after several nights of adjustment I'm barely aware Orange Grove is playing and actually find the repetition of familiar sounds strangely comforting. I no longer pick-out the didgeridoo, bells and chimes and have stopped consciously watching the clock. Several weeks after Orange Grove first entered the bedroom, I'm actually waking up feeling more rested and no longer aware of nightly time checks. Perhaps the expectation of repeated success has helped alleviate my insomnia or maybe John Levine is onto something – either way for now I'm just thankful I can finally get some shut eye.
Browse the Alphamusic range at: http://www.silenceofmusic.com
Other ways to allay sleeplessness