With my training continuing unabated, I find myself reading a book that has deepened my learning further.  With it comes the almost addictive nature of needing to learn more and more,  absorbing explanations of why we do the things we do.  Take for example one of my favourite aspects that I enjoy explaining to people….the orientation response within REM.

Never heard of it?  Well the more I explain it, the more I find people experiencing the same wonder that I do at just what an incredible thing the brain is.  The change from one state of awareness to another….the orientation response.

Just imagine now that you are driving along a familiar stretch of road, and all of a sudden a wild animal leaps out from behind the trees.  A powerful signal in the brain triggers you to slam on the brakes or swerve.  Seen on an E.E.G. machine, these signals are shown as spikes of activity.  What I find interesting though is the same spikes also known as Pons Genticulate Occipital Cortex spikes (PGO spikes), named after the neural pathways along which these signals are sent, are also seen just before we enter our REM state during sleep.  So if these signals are there to alert us to changes in the environment, how come we experience this just before REM sleep too?

Well, the dreaming state requires some form of trigger in order for it to commence.  These electrical spikes alert the brain that an important event is about to materialise.  Clearly these spikes aren’t alerting us to external dangers such as to avoid an accident on the road, no they are directing the thought processes inwards to the the job of processing all the events of the day to convert them from emotional memories to narrative memories.  Memories we have control over.


sleep stars remBut that’s not all, with people leading ever more busy lives and with anxiety and depression becoming ever more common we find that sleep suffers.  With this comes pressure on the REM state to process ever more emotional memories that are experienced during the day.  Waking up tired in the morning?  It’s quite likely the brain has been using up so much energy trying to process all the problems of the day that it’s simply exhausted. Read more…

And what about those PGO spikes?

That person’s ability to fire orientation responses drops significantly.  The brain is simply over-tired. This in turn finds the person not being alerted to changes in their environment, so they fail to switch their attention from one thing to another.  Motivation levels drop and completing everyday tasks becomes somewhat of a challenge.

We know that hypnotherapy can help with breaking this cycle and therefore get people back on track.  Helping them to Improve their sleep, and in turn, their quality of life.  This small step can create big changes – the bedrock of what is solution focused hypnotherapy.  Book you FREE initial consultation and make that step to a better future.

And if you need one more reason to get a good night’s sleep….

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