May 2020

Having a hard time falling asleep?

Worrying about things, reminiscing, reviewing bad things that happed through the day or even thinking about what you still have to do, can cause problem sleeping. Negative thoughts about sleep also make it very hard to fall asleep ( i.e if I will not sleep again tonight, I definitely will not be able to work tomorrow). The fear of not falling asleep causes anxiety, which increases bodily arousal, the heart starts racing and muscles become tense. The physical discomfort creates worrying, restlessness and even more negative thoughts. As a result it becomes very hard to relax and fall asleep.

What can you do to improve it?

if I will not sleep again tonight, I definitely will not be able to work tomorrow

Exercise

  1. First of all, if you are awake more than 30 minutes, do no stay in bed. Get out and drink something warm (not coffee) and choose a soothing activity such as deep breathing, listening to calm music etc. Pick up a sleep diary and write down the negative thoughts about sleep that come to your head when you are lying in bed, during the night if awakened and after getting out of bed in the morning. Additionally write the emotions that you are experiencing and their impact on you.
  2. You also need to learn about sleep, so read scientific articles and research findings so you will more have accurate knowledge and facts about insomnia and sleep. Accurate information will help you reformulate your thoughts, give you a sense of control and might even reassure you and reduce your anxiety.
  3. Write down next to each negative thought a more accurate thought to replace it. Use your newly acquired knowledge, as well as ask, yourself why do I believe this? What in reality supports my thought? A better formulated thought could be e.g.’’ people vary in the amount of sleep hours they need’’;  ‘’Sleep or no sleep, I will get through the day ‘’OR ‘’ I have functioned well in the past on less hours of sleep, then if I will not sleep a lot tonight, it will not be such a big deal’’. The more often you practice replaying negative thoughts into more accurate ones, the easier it will become and that will also help your sleep.