As someone who occasionally suffers from insomnia, my interest was piqued by this article in Elephant Journal. The article explains a study that suggests that shutting down a region of the brain called the Default Mode Network (DMN) could be the key to getting a good night’s sleep.
The DMN is largely responsible for our internal chatter and meandering thoughts. When we are not consciously thinking of meaningful things, the DMN goes on autopilot and continues to produce less meaningful thoughts.
I am curious what the evolutionary purpose of the DMN might be. It would be much easier to be in the moment and to be fully aware of our surroundings without it. The ability to be present and enjoy experiences without feeling self-conscious or experiencing a mind that wanders and pulls us away from the moment would be heightened. However, I suppose that is the function of meditation.
The article suggests writing down one’s worries before bed and tuning into a white noise, like the sound of a fan or a CD that plays rainforest sounds. I already turn on a fan when I go to bed, as white noise was suggested to me years ago. It is more difficult for me to fall asleep without it, though I still have trouble even with it turned on. I am certainly willing, though, to try to tune into the noise more fully. I will also write down anything that is worrying me before bed, and I will review my experience next week.
What methods help you fall asleep?