Transform your emotional response to sleep by understanding the inner workings of your mind for a deep, restful sleep.
Hello! And a warm welcome you to in week 4. This week we will be working on your emotional response to sleep, and taming it so you can finally rest.
I hope by now you are deep in the trenches of sleep restriction and see progress after two weeks. I truly wish that you are one of the fortunate ones who goes from an erratic schedule to a solid block of sleep every night relatively quickly.
But if you’re not there yet, that’s ok.
It can take time for your body to realign itself with a regular sleep schedule. For me, this first stage of sleep restriction took me about four weeks with a few slip ups here and there (sleeping in late on weekends and napping longer than I was supposed to).
If you do slip up like I did, simply pick yourself up and try again the next day/night. Yes, you’re not supposed to nap excessively or sleep in. And yes, slipping up will mean it takes you longer to get a regular sleep schedule. But just get back on the proverbial horse the following day. If you stay committed day in, day out, you will see progress.
The more you train yourself to go to bed and wake up at the same time, the easier it’ll become.
And the easier it becomes, the less stress you will feel around sleep in general. This starts a positive feedback loop that makes it even easier to sleep. It’s building a positive feedback loop between your brain and body.
I also hope you are putting in the work to rearrange your thinking around sleep. This is just as critical as the biological component.
- The first step that we covered in week 1 was to stop your F3 alarm. You do this by getting out of bed when you can’t sleep and doing something that helps calm you. These include breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, visualisation, or distraction.
- Week 2 was all about reconfiguring those automatic thoughts and behaviours that are contributing to insomnia.
- The next layer to rearranging your thinking around sleep was challenging your thoughts and beliefs as discussed in week 3.
Speaking of which, how did that go?
This can be two steps forward, one step back. Sometimes, challenging yourself works. But other times you can try to convince yourself until you’re blue in the face that you’ll finally sleep tonight. And it still doesn’t stop anxiety from taking over. It’s like you can reject the negativity and tell yourself to believe all of the positive things. But your subconscious mind overrides any rational thought.
This is where this week comes in. We’ll be peeling back another layer of built up anxiety around sleep. That way, those ingrained negative thoughts around sleep can be dealt with effectively. In other words, the first three weeks were like dealing with the fire after it was already lit.
Now we’re going to look for sparks before the fire ignites in the first place.
This week I’ll be providing some tools to help you disconnect from your negative thoughts and feelings around sleep. It doesn’t mean you’ll get rid of them, but it means you’ll be able to see them for what they are – just ineffable things that pass by. Things you don’t have to buy into.
Negative thoughts appear and they can’t always be actively countered with rational or positive thinking. The mission this week is to find another avenue to deal with these toxic thoughts and strong emotions.