First Aid Kit – I can’t sleep

by Mary Bitchashvili

We start therapy game with you. Ask any of these questions and get answers from THE SCHOOL OF LIFE – EMOTIONAL FIRST AID !

“I can’t sleep”

Try to find the root cause

Rather than immediately medicalising insomnia, we should perhaps try to understand where it springs from in human nature and what it might – in its own confused way – be trying to tell us. In many – though, note, not all – cases, it may go something like this: insomnia is the mind’s revenge for something important we have forgotten to do in the day: namely, think. Most of us do, of course, have a great deal on our minds during the daylight hours, but these tend to be practical, procedural, immediate matters – the sort that keep at bay the larger, deeper questions about direction, purpose and values.

Think philosophically

It’s tempting to think of philosophy as a remote, specialized discipline of relevance to only a few academically minded sorts. But what philosophy really wants from us – which is that we should lead an examined, self-aware life – is in truth a basic necessity for every human being, as vital as water or exercise. So much so that if we don’t regularly do enough philosophy, if we don’t constantly make time to interrogate ourselves, question our plans, explore our talents and think over our relationshis, we will pay a very heavy price. We’ll be stripped of the capacity to carry on our lives with enough rest in our bones.

Work through your issues during the day (rather than at 4am)

So important are some of the questions we need to tackle, something within us – you might call it an inner guardian or conscience – prefers that we should stop deriving all the many obvious benefits of sleep rather than leave a raft of existential issues untreated for much longer.
This points us to a solution to insomnia: not so much a pill, or a special kind of tea, or a long bath, but, principally, more time – in the reasonable hours of the day – for thinking; more time in which there are no demands upon us, and we can at last meditate philosophically. We should systematically examine everything we are concerned about, sift through our regrets, discuss our work with our inner critic, air the tensions of our relationship with our true selves. In short, we should reacquaint ourselves with ourselves.

P.S. I am writing this article at 5:30 am. Thank you for reading!