What Feeds Your Sleep Phobia
The one thing that makes your sleep anxiety worse is probably the thing that most insomnia experts tell you to do; get out of bed if you haven’t fallen asleep within 15 minutes.
Chronic insomnia often evokes an intense fear or dread about going to bed. Most insomniacs are desperate to get some sleep and the lack of it feeds their anxiety and depression, creating a cycle of despair.
Once you have had a few nights of poor sleep it can be difficult not to create the expectation in your mind of suffering more sleepless nights in the future. This not only devastates you emotionally, but it actually compounds your sleeping problem.
Sleep Hygiene 101
Most sleep experts talk a lot about sleep hygiene habits, such as going to bed at the same time every night, using the bedroom only for sleep or sex and making your bedroom dark and cool.
Many insomnia experts also say that there is no point being in bed when you aren’t sleeping, since your mind will eventually begin to associate being in bed with not sleeping.
They suggest that instead, you get up and do something that relaxes you (such as reading or crossword puzzles) until you feel sleepy again. The idea is that once you break the cycle of insomnia you’re more likely to be able to fall back asleep.
This strategy may work for some, but it is next to useless for those whose insomnia is caused by hormonal or brain chemistry issues. On the contrary, it only causes frustration and makes the insomnia worse. For these kinds of insomniacs, sleep will either come or it won’t. No amount of attempting to trick the mind will change that.
It’s Happening Even When You Think It Isn’t
According to Dr. Guy Cameron, Author of ‘The Sleep Book’, getting up every 15 minutes is at best useless and at worst, detrimental to your health and wellbeing.
Even when you are lying in bed feeling frustrated about not being able to fall asleep, you are still getting much needed rest and even though it may feel as though you aren’t sleeping at all, you’re actually getting lots of little ‘microsleeps’ which you’re unaware of.
In fact if you were to undergo a sleep test during those nights when you thought you ‘didn’t get a wink of sleep’, you’ll find that this is fact untrue. The body is busily snatching seconds of sleep even when you don’t know it. So it pays to stay in bed, even when you think there’s no point.
It Is What It Is
As frustrating as it is to lie awake while others in the house are sleeping soundly, staying in your bed is the best thing you can do.
If you could accept the fact that you may not sleep at all and be okay with that, not only would you get the rest you needed, but you may actually get some sleep.
Acceptance is the key, but it is easier said than done. I loved The Sleep Book because it gives you lots of practical examples of how to become more relaxed about not sleeping and in turn, how to cure your insomnia once and for all.
In the meantime, use your bed for rest and take comfort in the fact that you don’t have to be up and down all night, trying to trick your brain into falling asleep. Your body knows what to do, and it is always working towards your wellbeing.
Instead of fighting your insomnia by doing the one thing that makes your sleep anxiety worse, accept it and know that if you lay in bed your body will be catching many microseconds of sleep along the way. Contact me today if you would like to overcome your sleep phobia.