End Insomnia and Sleeping Problems Without Drugs

by Rosanna D'Agnillo

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Welcome to my story of insomnia and sleeping problems and how I fixed them by myself, without drugs and without doctors. I’m not a doctor. I'm not a psychologist. I'm not an expert on sleep problems, except my own. I experienced difficulty sleeping for about ten years, and then severe insomnia for five years after this. In fact, I've been awake most of the night for a long time. Since my mid-twenties.

I'd like to say I spent much of this time trying to figure out how to help myself, and that this book is the result of those thousands of hours of painstaking research, of trial and error as I self-experimented.

Actually, I spent most of this time really angry that I couldn't sleep. Mostly I fumed in black rage. After I figured out how to help myself, and after I made the commitment to restore my sleep health, the healing happened a lot more quickly than it took me to get down into the insomnia abyss in the first place.

It was a journey through total despair and—thank goodness—eventual success. I feel like Orpheus who escaped the underworld alive. I really feel like I've been to the other side and back. I'm scarred from the experience, as was he, but I made it and so can you.

You are not alone. You are not crazy. Getting a good night's sleep is not asking too much of life. Getting a good night's sleep is what you need in order to enjoy living.

I feel lucky and grateful to have even survived severe long-term insomnia. I know some people who have not survived, and it is to those that I dedicate this book.

 Funny how the best solutions to our complex human problems are often free, and these are the strategies that I outline in End Insomnia and Sleeping Problems Without Drugs. I am now able to sleep between five to seven hours in a row. For insomniacs, this is an incredible amount of sleep. It's a light-year of sleep. Sleeping aids did not help me sleep. I consulted with numerous traditional medical professionals and not one was able to help me. I only received prescriptions for sleeping pills, anti-depression pills and minor habit and environmental changes, like a bath before bed and no television in the bedroom.

Once I was on the path that made sense for me, it took about a year to teach myself to sleep again. Now when I wake up in the middle of the night, I'm usually able to fall back asleep. I can even get up and go to the bathroom and usually fall back asleep.

 Does all of this make you flame with jealousy and longing? Read on, padawan, and I will share my tale with you. This book is not only for severe insomniacs. Anyone with sleeping problems will benefit from these strategies. It's not only your sleep that will benefit either. The positive changes cascade to the rest of your life, because of the way our minds and bodies are so interconnected, and because of the importance of sleep to every aspect of healthy and optimal functioning.

 During my decade and a half of sleeping problems and since, I have met many people whose lives, health and families were destroyed or are in the process of being destroyed by sleep deprivation. This includes suicide. Very serious depression and health problems. Divorce. Lost jobs. Abandoned passions. Truant children. And more. It's real and it's bad. Sleeplessness is not just a problem for those who are sleepless, but for their families, too. The impact cascades to their friends, their workplaces—and thus it billows out to our society as a whole.

In 2006, when I tried to speak with friends or family about my sleeping crisis, most would just ask me, kind of blankly, "Well, why don't you just roll over and go back to sleep?"

 No, they were not joking. They simply could not understand just whythe simple task of sleeping was so hard for me. Not funny for me at all. I had no one to talk to. No one who understood what I was going through. The isolation and a sense of my own misfit weirdness, my defective hardware, compounded the problem.

 A lot has changed in the last few years. Today, I count many people even in my own small circle of family, friends and colleagues who have serious problems sleeping. Now, at the time of writing this book, nearly every woman over forty that I know has trouble sleeping at night! Impossible as this was to believe a few years ago, I am now one of the most well-rested people I know.

 There is also increased media attention to the growing problem of sleep deprivation. My local newspaper features a weekly article about how to improve your sleep. I see more headlines on Yahoo about sleep deprivation than even a couple years ago. Many studies cited in the media stress the importance of sleep to our health, to our jobs, to our happiness, and to our children.

 Most of the popular environment and habit suggestions for improving your sleep are of limited value, especially for those who suffer from severe insomnia.

 What is severe insomnia? I spent five years sleeping less than three hours per day. Often I did not sleep these three hours in a row; I'd catch thirty minutes here and an hour there.  At my worst I was sleeping just an hour or two every third day.

 Sometimes when I tell people about this now, they don't believe me. They don't believe your body can survive on such little sleep. But it can, just not very well. They don't believe you can stay awake for so long without sleep. You can, but you sure feel crazy and really terrible.

 I know it happened. Why? Because I was awake the whole time, counting—the seconds, the minutes, the hours—night after night, year after year, watching the clock.

 As you can imagine, in this condition of severe insomnia, you are pretty messed up. The physical and mental consequences are terrible and life-changing. Lavender, a warm bath before bed and cutting out the afternoon Starbucks have basically zero impact on severe insomnia.

 It is for this reason that I feel compelled to add my voice to the discussion about sleeping problems.
 My ideas are not pharmaceutical or quick-fixes. There are no pharmaceutical answers or quick fixes. If you're holding out for a special pill, you're out of luck.

You need to teach yourself how to sleep again. So-called sleeping pills only make it harder. As stupid as it seems, sleeping pills actually prevent you from reaching deep sleep. And they create a new host of problems that are even scarier than your original insomnia.

 You will need to commit some time and thought to your own process. I know this seems hard when you're so exhausted from sleeping poorly, but the rewards of your self-discovery are numerous, immediate and they are long-term. You will be a better person and live a more fulfilling, happy life because of your efforts.

You are worth it! I wish you patience and hope along this journey out of the abyss!

Buy the book on Amazon in Kindle format, paperback, or audiobook:
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Worksheets from End Insomnia Without Drugs (download all in this compressed file)>>

After you've read or listened to the book, if you have any questions, please write me at rosanna at dagnillo dot com.

Rosanna D'Agnillo is a musician and writer who lives in Calgary, Canada. Her music is available at www.rosannad.com. Rosanna wrote End Insomnia Without Drugs after surviving five years of severe insomnia and many years of sleeping problems prior to that. This book chronicles her journey, and clearly outlines her successful strategies for restoring healthy sleep patterns, without drugs, doctors, clinics, masks, and all that other stuff that you think you need to buy to fix your body and your mind.