Tired of Not Being Able to Sleep? EFT Is a Real Solution

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December 07, 2002 | 289,809 views

Story at-a-glance

  • Sleep is one of the cornerstones of good health, and getting too little or too much sleep can have adverse effects
  • Impaired sleep can weaken your immune system, accelerate tumor growth, impair your mood and memory, lead to weight gain, raise your risk for heart disease, and may even shorten your lifespan
  • The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) can be an easy and effective way to relieve insomnia, and Patricia Carrington describes how her “Choices Method” of EFT can be used for insomnia
  • In order to reverse insomnia, one of the most important tasks is to identify the underlying issues in your life that may be causing your pattern of wakefulness
  • In addition to decreasing stress with EFT, there are many other steps you can take to improve your sleep, including optimizing your sleep sanctuary, modifying your lifestyle, and learning what to do and what not to do before going to bed

By Patricia Carrington

A growing number of people who have learned the EFT technique find it is incredibly useful in helping them to sleep. There are a number of ways EFT can be used to induce pleasant sleep, and I will get to some of these. But, for those who already know how to use the technique – consult Dr. Mercola's free online EFT manual if you want to learn the basics -- the most obvious way to counteract your inability to fall asleep is to "tap" while stating the following affirmation:

"Even though I can't get to sleep (don't let myself get to sleep, etc.) I deeply and completely accept myself."

That's a good start, but there are some even more effective EFT maneuvers you can use for this purpose. The first and most important thing is to examine the underlying issues in your life that may be causing your consistent pattern of wakefulness. This is crucial if you want to obtain lasting relief from your sleep difficulty -- there is always a CAUSE for a sleep disturbance, either physical, emotional, or both. You will need to work on this cause by using EFT if you want to remove the sleep problem permanently.

To identify the cause of your insomnia, first analyze the thoughts that circle in your mind during the time you lie awake. What are these thoughts concerned with? Do they relate to a specific theme or themes in your life? Is there a particular concern or worry that refuses to leave you alone at night? Do you have a problem that insists on seeking an answer right away ... "or else"?

The following list of suggestions is not exhaustive and may be more of a starting point than a definite direction, but you can use them to spark your thinking. I will give you a few possibilities for some "EFT Choices" that might be useful for dealing with whatever issues come up.

I suggest that you read the following with an open mind, and if any of the phrases fit try that one on for size by tapping with the setup phrase suggested or some variation of it that applies more closely to your own situation.

My first suggestion is the EFT Choice:

"Even though I feel a great responsibility for (fill in here with a few words describing any responsibilities that weigh on your mind when you are lying awake at night)... I choose to know that any thoughts I have about this will be even more useful after I sleep."

Tapping on this statement does NOT make you irresponsible or "avoiding the issues," by the way. What it will do is allow you to cancel out your concern about the situation so you can get good sleep, and in this way become more clear-headed about this issue the next day. Being weighed down with responsibilities is a common blocker of sleep; you will handle your responsibilities much better if you are well rested.

Another sleep-depriver is anxiety. Suppose you are thinking obsessively because you are anxious about the outcome of something and afraid of what will happen if you don't come up with a good answer -- RIGHT NOW. You may be afraid that your job will be in jeopardy if you don't do this or that, or that your health will be in jeopardy if you don't find an answer now, etc.

In all these cases, the best thing to do is to keep a pad and pencil by your bed so you can turn on the light when these thoughts start to circle in your head. Jot down one or two sentences to remind yourself in the morning of what it was you were worried about last night -- and then start tapping on the anxiety itself, using EFT.

For example, you might use the Choices phrase:

"Even though I'm anxious about (worried that, etc., fill in whatever it is that worries you), I choose to be calm and confident." or "I choose to be calm and relaxed, etc."

Another emotion that often keeps us awake at night is anger -- sleep and anger are often incompatible. If this is the case, try tapping directly on YOUR ANGER! If you do this, be totally honest with yourself. Bring out all your resentment toward any uncomfortable position you find yourself in, or toward anyone who is irritating or infuriating to you, etc. Then tap openly and vigorously using such phrases as:

"Even though I'm furious (enraged at, etc., fill in name of person or situation), I choose to be calm and confident."

This can work wonders because the likelihood is that if your anger was stirred up that much, you were NOT feeling calm and confident about the situation at all but were instead threatened by it in some way. Remove the sense of threat so that you can have peace.

Whatever the issue is that you identify and work on, keep doing rounds of EFT until your distress rating (on a zero to 10 point scale of distress) comes down to a one or a zero (or at least as low as you can get it to go). After doing this, you may naturally fall asleep with no difficulty.

However, old habits do sometimes die hard. If so, you may have to employ other EFT strategies as well to break the problem-solving habit when you are lying in bed. Here are some suggestions for doing that:

If you find yourself wakeful as you lie in bed, you may want to try mentally tapping on each of your acupoints, instead of physical tapping. For many people (myself included) this works quite well because it doesn't stir us up through physical activity, which can make us more wakeful; mentally tapping through the EFT sequence can do the job just as well.

A very helpful setup phrase for this purpose can be:

"Even though I can't get to sleep, I choose to be pleasantly drowsy..."

Notice that I don't suggest that you directly suggest sleep, simply because that idea might be resisted by habit! Instead, you will be slipping sleep in by the back door, so to speak -- if you become pleasantly drowsy, the likelihood is very high that you will automatically drift off to sleep.

As you tap mentally (if you can do so, or if not do EFT by gently touching each acupoint instead of tapping), if the process is working for you, you will at some point find yourself confused about just where you are in the EFT sequence, or begin to forget your reminder phrase. This vague, drifting state of consciousness is exactly what you want so don't resist it! It means you are entering the so-called hypnogogic (pre-sleep) state. If you just go with it, you will be asleep in the twinkling of an eye, although you probably won't know it until you awake in the morning.

Another possible phrase for inducing sleep with EFT is:

"Even though my thoughts seem so important, I choose to know that they'll all be there tomorrow when I wake up."

This can release you to allow sleep to come naturally.

Finally, if none of these tactics have worked for you, you might then profit greatly by delving into your memory banks to discover just when in your life it was that your sleep difficulties began. When you locate that spot in time, try to remember what happened to you at that time in your life -- the likelihood is that there was something traumatic that triggered this wakeful habit, and tapping on that trauma can be the key to resolving your entire sleep problem. I have seen this happen a number of times with clients. The effect of clearing the original cause can be a complete cessation of a sleep disturbance.

I wish you good luck in using EFT as a benefactor of your sleep and your life!

Patricia Carrington's overview of how to use EFT to conquer insomnia is right on target. I have similarly employed the technique with patients of mine who had trouble sleeping. For those who haven't heard of Ms. Carrington, her "Choices Method" is a very useful innovation for EFT. You can read more about the Choices Method on her website.

If you are new to EFT, I suggest you start with our free online EFT manual for the basics, and then consider the more comprehensive The Tapping Solution book and DVD.

Sleep is one of the cornerstones of good health. Six to eight hours per night seems to be the optimal amount of sleep for most adults, and too much or too little can have adverse effects on your health. Sleep deprivation is such a chronic condition these days that you might not even realize you suffer from it. Science has now established that a sleep deficit can have serious, far reaching effects on your health. For example, interrupted or impaired sleep can:

  • Dramatically weaken your immune system
  • Accelerate tumor growth—tumors grow two to three times faster in laboratory animals with severe sleep dysfunctions
  • Cause a pre-diabetic state, making you feel hungry even if you've already eaten, which can wreak havoc on your weight
  • Seriously impair your memory; even a single night of poor sleep—meaning sleeping only 4 to 6 hours—can impact your ability to think clearly the next day
  • Impair your performance on physical or mental tasks, and decrease your problem solving ability

When your circadian rhythms are disrupted, your body produces less melatonin (a hormone AND an antioxidant) and has less ability to fight cancer, since melatonin helps suppress free radicals that can lead to cancer. Impaired sleep can also increase stress-related disorders, including:

  • Heart disease
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Constipation
  • Mood disorders like depression

Sleep deprivation prematurely ages you by interfering with your human growth hormone production, normally released by your pituitary gland during deep sleep (and during certain types of exercise, such as Peak Fitness). Growth hormone helps you look and feel younger. One study has even shown that people with chronic insomnia have a three times greater risk of dying from any cause.

Lost sleep is lost forever, and persistent lack of sleep has a cumulative effect when it comes to disrupting your health. Poor sleep can make your life miserable, as you probably know.

Besides EFT, there are many other things you can do to improve your sleep. If poor sleep is an issue for you, I recommend your reading my comprehensive article about sleep that covers how to optimize your sleep sanctuary, what to do and what NOT to do before going to bed, and how to modify your lifestyle to ensure you're getting the restorative sleep you need.