Updated: May 4, 2019
When you turn the lights off to go to #bed, wouldn't it be great if all the worrisome thoughts, and stressful situations running through your mind turned off too? What if I told you it's completely possible? I have had people laugh right in my face, and dismiss the idea as pure fantasy. As someone who used to suffer from #insomnia, I know all too well where that #mindset comes from too.
The number one complaint I get from clients with #sleep issues is that they can't seem to quiet their mind enough to fall asleep. That's because when the lights are off, and you're staring at the ceiling, there are no distractions preventing you from thinking about all the worries that have accumulated over the day.
Restlessness is another big one. Tossing and turning, then the covers are all twisted. One leg is tangled in the sheet, the other is freezing cold. Fix all the blankets only to start sweating shortly after. I've come to realize that in our society people have forgotten how to relax. In fact, the upcoming generation will most likely be incapable of relaxation. After all, it's impossible to properly teach, what you don't know yourself. Without the ability to relax, and let go, sleep issues will continue to plague our bedrooms.
From here the next issue is, not enough deep sleep. Better known as the REM state; REM only occurs after some non-REM sleep. That means you need to be asleep for awhile to achieve the REM state. If you have issues sleeping already, not getting enough REM sleep will make your waking hours even tougher, creating more stress and worries.
Nightmares/Falling/Twitching can occur when the body and/or mind is stressed. Sleepless mind, restlessness, and not enough REM, builds more worries and stress. Now you get bodily sensations that wake you up either while falling asleep, or once you are asleep. We have all heard of the sleep cycle, well this is very similar only going in the wrong direction.
If left unchecked, the cycle continues, compounds the issues, making it even harder to sleep. So what can you do? Lots!
1. Wind Down and Unplug
About an hour before you want to go to bed, turn everything off. That means all electronics. We have built anchors within our minds that these things equal being awake. Time to build new anchors, like reading, drawing, or playing cards. Avoid anything that may tie back into your life, stresses, or worries. This will provide your mind with the distractions it needs once you decide to fall asleep.
Go to bed at the same time every night as often as possible. Routine eases stress on the body and mind. This will also start training your mind and body to get tired at a certain time. This will make falling asleep much easier and quicker over time.
3. What's a Bed For?
Sleep. Reserve your bed for sleep, and keep non-sleep related things out of it. If you are to retrain your mind successfully, you'll need to associate your bed with the idea of sleep. When winding down, do it elsewhere, when you are ready to fall asleep, goto bed. If you don't fall asleep, get up and start again.
4. Sleep Aids
Sleep masks can help people who are sensitive to light. White noise makers, or calming music may help distract your mind from thoughts. Earplugs for those who are distracted easily by noise. A word of caution in using these aids. They are called aids for a reason, they are to aid you in either falling asleep or staying asleep. As with anything we can develop a mindset where we need these items to fall or stay asleep. Meaning if you don't have them, guess what.
5. Log Your Progress
Journaling is an excellent way to determine what kind of progress you are making. It is also a great way to gauge if a particular method works better than another.
6. Two Birds
Another important aspect of the journal is using it to unload those stressful and worrisome thoughts. Would it surprise you to know that the main reason people can't let go of these thoughts is because they believe that if they do, it means they don't care? Write them down. Taking the time to write these thoughts down, relieves the tension, and urgency of these issues. Offload your day while winding down!
Medication can sometimes be a great way to allow your mind and body to experience a sensation or state. One more way to train your mind and body on how it should feel and react. In some cases, medication may be required to reset the compounding spiral of symptoms for a fresh start at retraining your mind and body. As with all aids, they should be used only to help facilitate the change, not as a solution.
We all enter into a state of hypnosis right before falling asleep. Being able to put yourself into a relaxed state of trance can be sometimes all you need.
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