In a more and more matter-centric world, as the discovery of the Higgs Boson particle and advances in robotics and cloning reveal, there is a subtle belief that less sleep will translate to success. Consequently, medical scientists are finding there is a high incidence of insomnia, cutting across all ages and occupations. Young university students under the unrelenting pressure of examinations and deadlines, complain about sleepless nights. Busy executives talk of sleeping with one eye open, in a bid to stay a few steps ahead of the competition while the other eye is constantly fixed on the bottom line. Even clerics may somewhat piously intone their ability to get by on four hours of sleep since they must stay awake to minister to the unending needs of their congregations and communities.
Insomnia is defined as a habitual chronic or acute sleeplessness, deemed both psychological and physical. It is attributed to the use of certain medications, stimulants, medical and psychiatric conditions as well as lifestyle. With the advent of virtual offices, working online, social media and riveting games readily available on practically every mobile phone, it is small wonder that studies show about one in every three people suffer some degree of insomnia. According to ‘Insomnia and US workers’ by Ronald C. Kessler et al [www.journalsleep.org vol 34 iss 9], 10% of Americans suffer from chronic insomnia, costing the US economy $63b in lost work performance
There is a disagreement among physicians today as to how to treat insomnia, and indeed whether it can be healed. Explaining the reason for this, Dr. Todd Arnedt of the University of Michigan says “Doctors don’t learn about sleep as they go through college …”. Consequently, treatments vary widely, from the use of cooling caps – ‘cerebral hypothermia’, to inducing high-amplitude Delta brainwaves through the use of peptide drugs and brain audio entrainment audio sessions, to eating foods high in melatonin such as cherries and purslane – Ghandi’s favourite fruit.
But what about prayer and faith – in one word, spirituality? Can spiritual, less matter-centric methods bring healing?
Patients who suffered from insomnia for many years, and had found no relief from medical and material remedies, attest to being healed by studying spiritual ideas in books such as Science and Health with key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. In talking about insomnia, Eddy says that it compels mortals to learn that neither oblivion nor dreams can recuperate the life of man, whose Life is God.
Individuals of faith continue to attest to the fact that the activity of spiritualising thought – gaining the habit of starting each thought with God, is not wearying but refreshing, bringing about the Scriptural promise in Proverbs 3: 24, that when we lie down, our sleep shall be sweet. No one needs suffer a moment longer, the agony of lying awake sleepless, or being a slave to sleeping pills. Anyone can investigate the spiritually scientific method, and, like others, find freedom, rest and healing.