Oh the irony. What's your song? I mean, the one that magically converts your hairbrush into a mic? Well, one of my favourites used to be "Insomnia" by Faithless. 

Before I had realised it, one issue after the next had snuck in and my case of sleep issues eventually brought my life to a screeching halt. 

I do thank the stars for my incredible stubbornness. As you, I kept wondering how in this day and age, we have no comprehensive view on what actually can cause sleep issues. So, I did make a promise to myself way back when to get to the bottom of this. 

The result is history in the making and you are witnessing what the amazing medical society and research has unearthed. 

Ideally, we shouldn't have to think about sleep, right?  I want you to be happy to drive the car to work in the morning, fully alert. Watching the sunsets with your family - go for it. That's joy. 

Now that you are here, we are having the conversation and I need you to take this in. 

First of all, the medical society knows so much more than we learn in everyday life. Sleep hacks, sleep hygiene, gadgets... What works depends on you, not a sales strategy. And secondly, the most important thing you will ever do for your sleep is to look closely at the sum of issues. 

You need to analyse as much as possible and focus on what the potential disruptors are. For instance, many of you will have developed behavioural issues around sleep. You will have heard about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for insomnia which is a broad term. You'd be wasting your time if you didn't choose the right elements of CBTi. So, is it Sleep Hygiene or do you need to address the panic you are experiencing around bedtime because you think there is yet another sleepless night ahead? Or is it maybe that your sleep is ok when you go to bed super early or later than the rest of us, is it circadian?  Your nightly energy supply might make you wake up in the middle of the night which needs a separate plan.  This is just a fragment of what to consider. 

Here's the good news. The medical society knows so much than we as the public get to hear about. We are looking at decades of studies or simple assumptions being made where we don't have yet enough evidence to prove a point. Had I known what I know now, I would not have ended up in psychiatric facilities twice. 

I had massive nighttime energy supply issues, several traumas, a work attitude that was not helping, a series of hormonal issues and the list goes on. 

The list of hacks and magic fixes I tried was even longer. Here is a long winding best-of list, including self-inflicted and total sleep deprivation for nights on end, the ability to dose sleeping pills I bought and consumed all over Europe just to make sure they'd work when I needed them, orange juice with cream of tartar right before sleep. Yoga. Heavy lasagna consumption, don't get me started...

Even since 2014, when sleep issues and I parted ways for good, I can't do certain things. My sleep tracking devices phobia is famous in certain circles, and slight ticks will probably stick around forever. 

I do love the fact that I am in a position to help you focus by asking a long list of questions to prep your next step. The press is picking up on this; I hold talks, the OSA sleep special is coming out before I'll public What Sleep Wants. Oh, and I get to have the right conversations on so many occasions: 

  • Talks at the London sleep show
  • The book "What Sleep Wants" (formerly known as "Your Nights' Architecture") is coming out soon
  • A 33-pager synopsis is already available, ping me
  • Corporate work
  • Plus, there are so many features

While we are at it, BBC radio and I keep having fun :) 

I am doing the work I wished something had done when I was so deeply sleep-deprived I could not see straight. In the end, the sheer thought of sleep would cause a sense of panic because I knew there'll be trouble ahead.

So, go ahead do the work. For now, breathe. Don't give up on this, we can at the very least check if we can milden your symptoms, whatever they are. 

Bookmark this page. Reach out. 

And, more importantly, download your questionnaire to prep your conversation with your healthcare professional. 

© 2022, Birgit Buenger Ltd.