The Myth of Insomnia (The Post-Modern Sleep Scam)

Photo by Kristin Vogt on

We’ve been scammed.

According to leading scientific research on sleep, “insomnia” is the a state of waking frequently during the night.

And yet, a high percentage of us suffer from it.

Even if you are not diagnosed with a sleeping disorder, you can probably relate to feeling draggy, tired, and overwhelmed from time to time. Maybe you feel this way every day.

If insomnia were a useful measure of the human experience, it would be an infrequent thing, mostly experienced by those who were sick or traumatized or otherwise “abnormal” in some way, right?

It couldn’t be all of us.

If you take a quick count of your family members, friends, and neighbors, chances are good that many (if not most) of the people you know also suffer from waking during the night, fatigue, exhaustion, burnout, and so many other sleep “disorders,” labeled as such by contemporary definitions. Most Western humans today–if not all–rely on stimulants, sleeping pills, and other hacks just to get the prescribed eight hours, then force themselves awake again in the morning.

Since it’s so many of us, there must be something wrong with the system, not us.

If you wake often during the night, wake up exhausted, need medications or supplements just to sleep at all, or drag yourself through the day, it’s not you. It’s your body trying to communicate with you.

Human beings have stopped listening to our bodies. As a result, we often find ourselves merely surviving–sometimes even barely coping. 

You are not the problem. The problem is the way we’ve programed ourselves to understand sleep.

It has to do with the way human beings naturally sleep. If left without the restraints of work schedules, blue light, alarm clocks, and other postmodern traps, humans sleep for a few hours in the evening, wake up for a short time, then go back to sleep for the rest of the night.

This phenomenon is known as “biphasic sleep.” It simply means that the human body prefers two sleep cycles per night, with a break in between. 

Biphasic sleep used to be common knowledge. Court cases, literature, art, and other historical documents casually mention “first sleep,” assuming that everyone knows that “second sleep” naturally follows.

In other words, humans used to take for granted that we naturally sleep in two phases, with a break in the middle. Ancient and medieval peoples took the two-sleep model as a matter of course, and some societies still follow this pattern. Nobody used to down melatonin or gulp Starbucks. Nobody used to lie awake and fret about their lack of sleep, in awful dread of the coming alarm clock.

The Western world got rid of biphasic sleep during the Industrial Revolution. At that time, Western cultures began emphasizing the eight-hour uninterrupted sleep cycle to better suit factory shifts.

In order to be more productive members of society, we began suppressing our natural sleep rhythms to keep up with the rapidly increasing pace of modern life. Postmodernity has continued this frenetic pattern, even though the factory model is largely dying out as a working system.

It’s starting to take its toll.

We use and abuse our bodies based on false information that goes against both ancient wisdom and modern science.

Pre-modern humans followed their natural body rhythms and the cycles of the earth.

Post-modern humans wake to the blaring of an alarm clock and an urgent need for coffee.

Photo by Soubhagya Maharana on

Today, common knowledge dictates that if you wake during the night, you suffer from insomnia. You might Google it or visit your doctor to be told that you have a sleep disorder and require medication to alter your brain state in order to get back to the so-called “normal” pattern of sleeping eight hours per night. Many of us use medication, meditation, supplements, and other life “hacks” to try and get those eight uninterrupted hours of sleep.

Many of us also spend a great deal of time and energy berating ourselves for not being able to sleep for those eight hours, even though scientific research explicitly states that eight uninterrupted hours of sleep is simply not natural to us.

And yet, so many of us feel desperate to do so, all thanks to long out-dated factory standards. 

If you wake often during the night, take something to sleep better, or worry about getting enough sleep, you are one of the victims of this systemic misunderstanding. Sleep deprivation, meanwhile, is stressing you out even more, repeating the cycle.

The truth is that we traumatize (and re-traumatize) our bodies on an almost-daily basis. Whether you are aware of it or not, you have experienced chronic trauma throughout your life, and one of these ways is by telling your body, over and over, “I can’t sleep.” Lying awake, miserable and afraid of being late to work, is not healthy.

Your body is storing that information as stress. You were told that you should, so you do.

If no one has ever told you that it’s okay to be awake in the night, or to sleep whenever feels good to you, or that you are not “broken” because you do not sleep eight hours at a time, I am telling you now.

You are not broken. Your body is trying to tell you the truth.

Most of my clients ask me how to get better sleep, and one of the biggest tools I give them is a trauma-release program to re-train their body to believe that its okay to be awake (or asleep) whenever feels right.

You are not broken.

Your body is trying to tell you the truth.

Meditation is a powerful tool to re-program the body for less stress and therefore better sleep. Trauma Release Meditation (TRM) is a simple, straightforward technique that helps you listen–and talk to–your subconscious mind for deep healing.

I developed TRM as a way to deal with my own debilitating insomnia, which just wasn’t going away, no matter what I tried. Learning about biphasic sleep was just one of the many “ah ha!” moments that taught me I wasn’t broken. I wasn’t the problem–it was the way I had been taught to understand my body’s needs.

We all do this, of course. We’ve been scammed, after all. It’s no one individual’s fault, but it’s every individual’s responsibility to learn about their body’s individual needs and meet them in more authentic, supportive ways. Meditation is just one of the many tools that have led me back to a life of (relative) health–and much better sleep.

Further, TRM helped me delve into some of the original traumas causing my insomnia in the first place, which went back much farther than the “big” traumas in my life. I’d been trained, slowly, to ignore and belittle my body’s biological needs. These patterns settled into my cells as trauma, so re-wiring was necessary to be able to sleep again.

Check out my free TRM insomnia session on YouTube, and don’t forget to subscribe for future meditations! Or, to schedule your personalized, one-on-one TRM session tailored to your individual needs, click the button below:

Published by Sarah Beach

Born and raised in rural Kentucky, Sarah Beach finds that healing is both a hobby and a passion. When she's not writing books or recording meditations, you will find her reading anything she can get her hands on, taking long walks in nature, or gulping large quantities of herbal tea.

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