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Even Though She's Safe Now, She Still Can't Sleep..

20 Sep


I have complex PTSD. My brain is still hyperventilate all night (on guard in case of pending trauma). There is no pending trauma, since I have nothing to fear because I am safe and have been for a couple of years now. I am unable to go down to stage 3 and 4 and REM sleep so I am fatigue during the day. What sleep CD I can get that will help my brain not to be on guard and I can get some deep sleep? I really want to get some good quality, restructure sleep. I just want to sleep. Thank you for your time. 


Dear Anya,

As you obviously already know, your body is stuck in a biochemical and neurophysiological alarm state and, for some reason, your neurophysiology isn’t automatically settling itself down of its own accord - maybe because of earlier traumas, or maybe because you were just born with a hyper-sensitive neuronal system, or both. Statistically this happens more with women than men, and more with children than adults, but we’re still learning about who gets stuck in this adrenergized alarm cycle and who doesn’t.  We know enough to understand that a lot of factors combine to produce this situation.

So, you’re right: it’s time to put your system on “manual” control, instead of relying on a jammed automatic “gear shift” that’s not delivering the goods for you!  

Now, the good news about PTS is that chances are, you’ll respond well to guided imagery or hypnosis. That’s because, by definition, you’re already all too familiar with achieving the altered state - through the dissociated trauma trance you’ve experienced multiple times. 

So I’m going to recommend several tools and styles - some or all are bound to appeal to you and do you some serious good.  Once you find one that you respond well to, just keep using it until you’re sick of it.  Then take a break and switch off to something else for a bit, and then come back to it.  

Our Health Journeys imagery - Healthful Sleep  - has performed well for a lot of trauma survivors. It’s not an exaggeration to say that we hear about a lot of good results with it.  That’s the one I created.

And KRS Edstrom has a fine hypnosis/imagery CD called Sleep through Insomnia  that you might enjoy, with seven different tracks on it.

Michael Reed Gach offers a guided Acu-yoga system in Sleep Better, which shows you how to use stretches and acu-pressure to help induce good sleep.

And of course, Carol Ginandes’ inspired Ultimate Power Nap CD set will train you to catch up on restorative sleep during the day - a wonderful skill to have! 

And Gael Chiarella has some lovely yoga meditations for evening over here 

Another really good sleep tool is a sleep mask, as long as using it doesn’t trigger your PTS symptoms.  Keeping marginal light out of your eyes can make a huge difference, especially after sunrise, or if you have a lot of LED light in your room.  

And for some, a little lavender or other kinds of aromatherapy oils or sprays on you or your pillow can help as well.  There are even inhalation beads  you can sniff that might help you with sleep. 

Good luck with this.  And if you think of it, please let me know what winds up working best for you.

All best,