Dear BR and HJ,

I’m trying to help my friend who had significant childhood abuse, who nightly dreams about either his job or bits of his childhood traumas. He is fully functional at work - is a genius, in fact - and nothing I suggest to get some work-free, trauma-free sleep, works.

He hates the Healthy Sleep CD's - he said the tone drives him batty.  He cannot abide reading a calm book.  He says he reads all day technical documents, so why would he want to read prior to bedtime?

He skips caffeine & spicy foods prior to bedtime.  Sleep aids, such as pills & potions, do not work.  I don't think in the 40 years I have known him, has he ever had a restful night.

I also know my brothers have similar problems in not responding well to self-guided imagery, yet I adore all of Belleruth's tapes/CD's and Dr. Andy Weil's - they help me!!  So I surmised that this reaction to imagery is a male patterned response of some kind, which it seems UTAS at Tasmania has reinforced.

Now, if you have any ideas on how I can help my brothers and friend to obtain some restful sleep, I'm all ears {and eyes!}.

The friend now has high blood pressure, with pills, diabetes, and I suspect not getting a restful sleep contributes to that metabolic syndrome. I've given him lavender sachets and he knows to have no light in the bedroom.

Are there any relaxing CD's here geared primarily for males? Any ideas?


Dear Nurse Karen,

You are a good friend and sister to hang in there and keep trying with these stressed out “hard cases” of yours!

I do have a few thoughts.  

First of all, it’s not true that tough guys don’t do guided imagery or related forms of meditation, breathwork and relaxation. Rest assured, this is not a male patterned response.  We’ve got all kinds of guy athletes, soldiers, first responders, type A Masters of the Universe and generally testosterone-loaded uber-dudes using it to great effect and with satisfying results. So it’s not about being a guy, per se.

But it does have to do with running so much adrenaline and related stress hormones, that there’s just too much of a gap between the racing in their heads and the buzzing in their bodies, and somebody’s ridiculously calm voice and soothing musical chords coming in at a nice, slow pulse rate of 60 beats per minute – makes adrenergized men or women just want to jump clear out of their skin! 

That’s why First Sergeant (Ret) Dave Rauls had us create his version of an intro, to get his fellow soldiers into it from where they’re at. You can check out the whole story and Dave’s intro here.

And you can get that intro for your friend and your bros, if you think it might help, either on our Stress Mastery CD  (which also contains relatively brief relaxation exercises that they could maybe tolerate – at least after my friend Dave gets done with them) - or as a separate track over on iTunes.

Another thought:  Forget about guided imagery and give ‘em a machine!!  Jack Fowler, a retired Marine, brilliant PhD psychologist and biofeedback mavin over at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (used to be Bethesda Naval), works magic with some unbelievably traumatized and injured patients.  

Jack recommends the user friendly, portable, self-administered and low-cost GSR2 for introducing de-stressing to guys like your friend.  The GSR2 precisely monitors their stress levels by translating tiny tension-related changes in skin pores (galvanic skin response) to a rising or falling audio tone. By resting two fingers on the sensing plates, they learn to lower the pitch and their stress levels.  More and more, they adjust their breathing, muscle tension and pulse rate and thus gain the eminently gratifying skill of self-control and relaxation.  It’s a good method for your hyper-charged, sleep-deprived guys.  

Hope this helps!

All best,