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SEXUAL VICTIMIZATION

Public Record Resources



The Terror That Comes in the Night
The Terror That
Comes in the Night



Dreams and Nightmares: The Origin and Meaning of Dreams
Dreams and Nightmares: The Origin and Meaning of Dreams



Dreams of Healing: Transforming Nightmares into Visions of Hope
Dreams of Healing: Transforming Nightmares into Visions of Hope



Trauma and Dreams
Trauma and Dreams





Victims of Crime: "I Can't Sleep"



The inability to sleep is one of the most commonly reported long term problems for victims of sexual assault, especially for those who were attacked at night or in their residence. They may find that they can't relax enough to fall asleep, fearing another attack, or they may be able to fall asleep but wake often, never entering the R.E.M. stage so vital for sleep to be productive, restfull and healing.

Often these fears may occur simultaneously with a type of agoraphobia (fear of open spaces) and a sudden sense of what's called facial vision. Facial vision is a term often used in conjunction with those who suffer from varying degrees of blindness, and it refers to the ability to sense that people or objects are nearby even though they cannot be seen or heard. Often victims will sleep with covers completely over their heads. Observers may think that this is an attempt to hide or disappear, but it has been suggested that this is really an attempt to self-protect the vulnerable areas of the face, neck and upper chest and to negate the hyper feelings of vulnerability brought on in conjunction with facial vision - in other words - the receivers in your body are in overdrive - desperately trying to detect and alert you to danger. If something is covering or protecting the "receiver" of the signal, in this case the face, then it helps to mute the hyperactivity, much like putting your hand over a microphone to stop it from producing a feedback squeel.

In vampire folklore, vampires sleep in coffins not in an attempt to be dead, but because the coffin itself is a protective device, like a personal cocoon designed to keep the light out. The fact that it's a coffin only adds the additional benefit that most people wouldn't want to open it to encounter who or what is in there. In a similar way, some victims have reported success sleeping in a sleeping bag. Not only does this combat the agoraphibic feelings, but may provide enough of a protective casing to allow for some level of relaxation and thus better sleep. Sleeping against a body pillow, either by itself or in conjunction with a sleeping bag allows you to have a protective feeling across the front of the body and can tuck nicely under the neck or the bottom of the face for even greater feelings of protection. As with any coping mechanism, short term use of exaggerated tactics such as sleeping bags can help - but can also become a crutch over the long term.

For longer term better sleep, some people have found that a rock fountain, fish tank or other similar "white noise" can help alleviate some of the constant need to listen in the night.

The fact that sleep problems, nightmares and insomnia are some of the most chronic problems experienced by survivors of sexual assault cannot be underestimated. Sleep provides not only rest and healing to the body, but to the mind as well - allowing for processing, confrontation, problem-solving, and projection in the dreaming process. Chronic deprivation of sleep can lead to a myriad of health problems, not the least of which is depression. It's no coincidence that survivors have a suicide rate eight times that of non-victims!

RESOURCES & GETTING HELP

Good Sleep Habits: Ten Behavioral Strategies and Three Mental Strategies.

Article from Sleep Medicine Associates of Texas, PA. Good tips for improving sleep habits.




SleepNet.com
Sleepnet.com
.

Sleepnet offers an excellent collection of web-based resources, provides information by disorder (making it easy to find what you want), sleep tests, tips, and an active forum section. Everything you wanted to know about sleep, but were too tired to ask.




National Sleep Foundation
National Sleep Foundation
.

The National Sleep Foundation is a 501(c)3 charitable, educational, and scientific not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving sleep health and safety through education, public awareness, and advocacy. Established in 1990, NSF attempts to ensure that Americans are aware that their sleep is an important component of their health and safety, and that they make obtaining sufficient sleep a priority, to help Americans recognize the signs and symptoms of sleep disorders and seek effective treatment for them, to see that public and private institutions operate in a manner consistent with providing optimal sleep for human health and performance, and to ensure that new sleep-related discoveries are made that optimize public health and detection and treatment of sleep disorders.




SleepDisorders.com
SleepDisorders.com
.

This site offers information on narcolepsy, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, medications used to treat sleep disorders, a therapist finder, and helpful articles and resources on insomnia.





iSleepless.com
iSleepless.com
.

This is a great support group site with tons of information from real people who have or are experiencing sleep issues of every possible type. Sections on special issues and remedies, helpful techniques.





Talk About Sleep
Talk About Sleep
.

Talk About Sleep provides a collection of tools for the individual and professional. The individual will receive a vast array of information offerings covering topics ranging from healthy sleep to sleep disorders and dreaming. The information is offered free and on a 24x7 basis via the Internet. Real-time, online support is also offered and includes Internet chats, message boards, and toll-free hotlines. The physician will receive an information resource and a source of educational and operational tools aimed at creating a more effective professional. All of these offerings are offered free of charge and at your convenience.

White Noise ProductsWhite noise CDs, DVDs, and noise generators at Amazon.com.


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Last Updated: March 16, 2011