Insight and Sleep

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Brandon Dayton, modified 4 Months ago.

Insight and Sleep

Posts: 474 Join Date: 9/24/19 Recent Posts
I've been noticing some odd sleep patterns over the past few months and wonder if it might be tied to insight cycles. I'm kinda in this 10th ñana territory that peaks up into equanimity at times, and it feels like my sleep is affected by the mental place I'm at. In general, I don't sleep well at night. I will wake up at least once in the night, but when it happens varies from midnight to 4AM. Sometimes I will wake up twice, once at midnight or so and again at 4ish. Sometimes I have insomnia after waking up and will be up all night. This is commonly accompanied by eerie and disturbing dreams and creepy unsettling vibes even after I wake up. I can't remember the last time I had a full night's sleep. This appears to happen whether or not I exercise, take melotonin, avoid screens at night ect. My sleep hygiene is otherwise pretty good. 

This is in contrast with sleep earlier this year that was pretty normal, or sleep following the A&P last year where I was sleeping like a baby and waking up at 5 every morning to meditate like a champ.

Just to be clear, not really looking for solutions to the sleep issues, just curious if others have experienced similar things in relation to practice.
agnostic, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Insight and Sleep

Posts: 1610 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
I'm finding more and more that I tend to wake up after ~4 hours feeling a bit energized (often from a dream). If I try to go straight back to sleep then I will be ruminating for a while and sleep will be poor, or I may not get back to sleep at all. The solution for me is to get up and meditate for 0.5-2 hours, then go back to bed. If I've had unsettling dreams then I can digest them in the meditation by reflecting on them. Post-meditation sleep seems to be more restful so net-net the night isn't much longer. There's also the added bonus of more chance of lucid dreaming (WBTB ). I also go to bed earlier rather than meditating so long or at all in the evening because when I'm tired meditation seems to be less fruitful.
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Tommy M, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Insight and Sleep

Posts: 116 Join Date: 12/1/20 Recent Posts
I had updated my practice thread yesterday with something similar, but more related to the actual process of falling asleep. I've been practicing dream yogas for a while and, as practice improves, I've noticed a progression that feels very much like cycling from 4th to 14th every night. Your descriptions of creepy and unsettling vibes align exactly with what I've noticed about the very dukkha ñana-like part of the progression.

If I wake up during that particular phase, there's often a strong sense of unease and weirdness but it dissolves almost immediately by recognizing it. I had wondered whether anyone else had experienced similar in the context of dream practices, so it's interesting that you've noticed this within a wider cycling context and how it seems to relate to your overall sleeping pattern.
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J W, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Insight and Sleep

Posts: 384 Join Date: 2/11/20 Recent Posts
I have found that I will go through periods where I can't sleep, usually it's around once a month. It will be like 2-3 nights of very minimal sleep. I do sort of think it's tied to some insight process just because it seems to correlate to whatever "thing" I am working out, I will just get into a mode where my mind just goes into hyperdrive and won't stop intellectualizing.  

It's not as much waking up in the middle of the night as just not being able to go to sleep at all.  It's to the point now where I've just sort of accepted it, if it seems like one of those nights, just get up and walk around, go play a video game or something, try again in a few hours.

I have a history of insomnia so I'm sure that plays into it as well...

But yes, I do think it's a thing that happens and it does seem to have something to do with practice.
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Siavash, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: Insight and Sleep

Posts: 1230 Join Date: 5/5/19 Recent Posts
I've been observing my sleep and dream patterns carefully for few years now, and I am almost certain that there is a kind of cycling pattern in both sleep and dream that seems to be related to practice.

I don't know if it's nana cycles or kundalini cycles or something else, but there is cycling. The one that I've noticed more, and more clearly, is the one that I had last night in a smaller scale, that first there are higher mindfulness and clarity for a period of time accoumpanied by lots of vibrations and strong energetic sensations, then they go away and a very intense sleepiness arises, that I call it sticky sleepiness in my log, which is very uncomfortable, and then I have lots of feaful dreams that often I remember them with details.

Another pattern is that I don't have that sleepiness, and I don't remember my dreams, but often during practice I get vague flashes and feelings of previous dreams, and they have a spacious quality, but often I don't remember more detail from them. And there are periods that I get sleepy during practice, but I don't fall asleep, and I have awareness about sleepiness and I can observe how different concepts arise in mind as mental images. For instance, a few images arise, that the relation between those images convey a concept, for example height, or length of time.

For some time I was really struggling to understand why I become so much sleepy at certain times, that no matter how much I sleep, the sleepiness wouldn't go away. Now I think it's related to some cycling. What cycling, I'm not sure.