July 11, 2015 by Cathy Vartuli

The Hidden Trauma of Sleep…

Ever wonder why it’s so hard to sleep?

Yeah, we’re all taught to say it’s work and life stress, something we ate, that tussle we had with a friend, partner or co-worker…

But really, lying there, mentally “chewing” on the things that happened during the day is rarely useful. And most people report that they have better ideas and solutions after they sleep soundly.

There is a fundamental reason that sleep is such a tense issue for so many people…

They never learned how to go to sleep.

What?! Even little babies know how to sleep. They drop off whenever they feel like it!

The truth is, if you’re reading this, you were likely taught that night time is a time of loneliness, fear, and isolation.

More about that in just a minute…

Ever notice that those pesky self-soothing habits like eating more than you want or foods you said you were giving a break, calling someone you promised not to, or watching “one more” junky tv show are much worse at night? (Nothing against junky tv… most things are good in moderation, we’re wanting you to be able to make decisions that are aligned with you, not compulsive!)

There’re reasons for that.

One of the biggest reasons is that most of us were taught that bedtime is scary.

But since most of us learned that before we were verbal, the memories and the tension are subconscious and REALLY hard to identify and change.

Thank about it… If you wanted to condition an human to be afraid of something, what would you do?

You might start when they were very small, and teach them 1) that they have no control over what they get, 2) try to make them do things they aren’t capable of and aren’t trained for yet, and 3) you would trigger their primitive brain over and over again.

Sadly, that’s what’s happened to most of us.

Our parents, doctors, and caregivers were doing what they thought was right. But recent advances in neuroscience have shown that what they were told to do was the OPPOSITE of what you’d do to give children good skills and peaceful feelings around sleep.

sleep-notThe theory back then was that at 6 months you were supposed to leave a baby to cry so that they would learn to “self-soothe.” If you didn’t do that, they’d become spoiled monsters who were burdens on society and their parents.

The problem? Children are psychologically and physiologically INCAPABLE of self-soothing until they’re 3 years old.

Those small children who stopped crying (making all those doctors and parents think they were “self-soothing”) were actually in deep trauma… They were frozen in fear.

Blood chemistry and heart rate monitors show elevated stress hormones and fast heart rates in these “self-soothed” babies.

Those poor beings were learning that no one would listen. No one would help. No one would care.

Often the parents were biting their lips and fighting their urge to go care for the baby… but thought they were doing the best thing for them.

We’ll talk more about the needs small humans have for support in the next email. For now, consider that even if you think you sleep well now… You might sleep even better if any old traumas were cleared out.

And if you have trouble going to bed or sleeping, you might find some powerful clues here.

We’re not saying that present day stress, worries, or even too much Chinese food might not make it hard to sleep. But if you have a primitive/survival brain that associates sleep with desperate fear and loneliness… Clearing that pattern could make life LOTS easier!

Let’s see if we can shift some of this right now! Let’s do some tapping together. (If you need our free Tapping Guide, you can find it here: https://www.thrivingnow.com/tapping )

Karate Chop: Even though I have this old fear, I am safe now, and I invite my younger self to curl up in my arms and sleep… deeply and peacefully.

Even though sleep used to be so frightening and scary, I can take care of myself better now, and I thank my younger self for the her courage and determination… We made it through!

Even though I’ve had all this resistance and tension, there is no longer danger here and I can rest and allow my body and mind to renew.

Top of the Head: It was so scary to sleep.
Eyebrow: I don’t even remember it clearly.
Side of the Eye: But I can feel it in my body right now.
Under the Eye: My poor younger self.
Under the Nose: So isolated and afraid.
Chin: I send her love and gentle comfort.
Collarbone: I let her know she’s not alone.
Under the Arm: We can learn to sleep in safely and love.

Top of the Head: My younger self was so brave.
Eyebrow: She made it through something very frightening.
Side of the Eye: She’s also tough as anything.
Under the Eye: I can appreciate her…
Under the Nose: And let her know sleep doesn’t have to be such a struggle.
Chin: It’s okay to rest and renew.
Collarbone: It’s okay to allow the bed to cushion me.
Under the Arm: And let gentle rest to ease my tiredness.

Top of the Head: Right now, the only thing I need to do…
Eyebrow: Is comfort my younger self.
Side of the Eye: I can release this old fear.
Under the Eye: And find new patterns.
Under the Nose: As I learn to sleep deeper…
Chin: As I release this trauma…
Collarbone: My body will feel refreshed…
Under the Arm: And my mind more clear.
Top of the Head: I am grateful to my younger self, and to myself!

Take a deep breath.

Notice what you feel in your body. Is there tension (if so, is it about what’s happening now… or is it from years ago)? Can you let yourself relax a bit more?

What thoughts come up?

Please hit reply and let us know what you notice and what you think about this? We won’t be able to answer individually since there are so many people interested in sleeping better, but we will use the information to offer the best tapping and programs we know how to do.

Serenely sleeping girlTo sweet sweet dreams and a deep restful sleep,


P.S. UPDATE: The Sleep Now Program is Available!

  • Oh God, what I did to my son. I thought I’d tapped that one out. There was a part of me that knew it was wrong but I was so stressed out myself and so tired, I just let him cry. It doesn’t matter that I didn’t know better, it still brings up a lot of sadness and tears.

    • Sure it is sad worthy. My Mom would have been much much more cuddly with my brother and me if she’d been “allowed.” It was a time when things like “science” and what had been passed down from generation to generation meant more than our own inner guidance. I’m glad you’ve joined us in exploring new ways of relating and comforting ourselves and those we love…. <3

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}