You can trust yourself to take care of your sleep just like you trust yourself to take care of your hunger and your thirst.
by Brian Curtis, PhD, DBSM
Spending too much time awake in bed? Stop going to bed early or sleeping in late. Commit to not being awake in bed. Go somewhere else to do that stuff. Return to bed only when sleepy.
Sleep-related worries assaulting you when your head hits the pillow? Deal with those before your head hits the pillow. Preferably sometime during the day when the front part of your brain is working more effectively.
Also, notice if you actually have to do anything with those thoughts. Are they helpful? Great! Act on them. If not, treat them just like waves in the ocean or clouds in the sky. The weather and tides do just fine without your control either.
Anxiety, stress, and hyperarousal taking priority over the signals for sleep? Practice letting go by taking a step back, slowing your breathing, prolonging that outbreath, tense and release some muscles so you can get back into your body vs. lost in thoughts, and all the while be mindfully aware of what’s happening in the present, without judgment. Not good or bad, right or wrong, just what is.
And yes, things like caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, cannabis, light, noise, temperature, food and fluid intake all matter. But, they’re not gonna do the trick all by themselves.
Dental hygiene can prevent cavities, but brushing and flossing won’t fill one. Sleep hygiene can prevent chronic insomnia, but won’t break it now that it’s here.
Over time, you can trust yourself to take care of your sleep just like you trust yourself to take care of your hunger and your thirst.
Treating chronic insomnia is the art of getting out of your own way.
Learn how: https://www.honestsleep.com/