A TV commercial for the prescription sleep-aid Rozerem says, “If you can’t sleep, you can’t dream.”
In that ad, a talking beaver, a deep-sea diver, and an Abraham Lincoln impersonator tell an insomniac that his dreams miss him.
Though I don’t endorse this product, the commercial is accurate to a degree: if you can’t dream, you’ll hallucinate—your mind will create the stuff of dreams in your waking life.
No one knows for certain why that happens. We only know that we must have our sleep. We can go longer without food than we can without sleep.
Yet we have a nation of insomniacs. Use of prescription sleep-aids has risen dramatically in the U.S. over the last few years.
This rise was spawned by a blitz of ads from pharmaceutical companies. Still, advertising doesn’t create the malady.
Something is out of balance when we can no longer do something so natural and so necessary as sleep. It’s a paradox: our lives seem to have become so stressful that we can’t do the very thing that helps alleviate stress.
When I experience insomnia, I sometimes find that it relates to a situation in my waking life I haven’t dealt with, that I haven’t faced.
Of course, there are many other reasons for insomnia. For a list of causes and cures, visit the Better Sleep Council’s web site: www.bettersleep.org.
© 2010, Michael R. Patton