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Why Guided Imagery Works So Well for Sleep

26 May

Audio Sample


Hello again, everyone. 

In combing over the feedback we get, it became clear very quickly that we get the most mail from grateful people who’ve used our sleep imagery.  In fact, over the years, Healthful Sleep has bumped Weight Loss as our top selling guided imagery recording, whether that’s in tape, CD, download or app format.

One soldier, who had been able to use it to help him sleep downrange, and now that he’s home, for insomnia and fear of nightmares, expressed curiosity about why it worked so well for him.

I think the answer is two-fold.  For the hyper-alert state that’s buzzing around in the primitive, survival-based structures of the brain, the nonverbal stuff – the soothing music and calming voice tone, not to mention the images of safety and support - signal that it’s okay to relax.

Offering a logical argument won’t do it (“It’s okay, you’re home now, nobody’s trying to kill you…”) – because this is body-based, adrenergized hyper-arousal.    It’s the music and voice tone that convince the brain stem and mid-brain that the danger has passed.

And the second therapeutic thing guided imagery does for inducing sleep, hits the overactive thinking, analyzing, strategizing, planning parts of the brain.  It distracts and interrupts all that yadda-yadda going on in there  - you know, worries about the upcoming day, lists of things to do, the perfect retort for that idiot so-and-so, or worse, memories and images of horrible things that happened and are stuck in there.  

It does this by what we call “cognitive recruitment” - offering just enough compelling content to compete with and override all that feckless, circular mind-chatter. After all, it’s not enough to tell yourself to not think about something.  We need some alternative choices on where to place our attention.  But it can’t be so interesting that it keeps us up!

Guided imagery is built to walk that perfect line.  That’s why it delivers the goods to the sleep deprived so nicely.

For more tools and tips for getting deep, restful, renewing sleep, order our free report by clicking here.

Take care, be well and sweet dreams,

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award