How To Deal With Sleep Anxiety
Fear of Sleep is a vicious beast that keeps on taking. It’s bad enough that you’re plagued with insomnia, but sleep anxiety is a second slap in the face you don’t need.
The more you worry about not being able to sleep, the less you sleep, so sleep phobia creates a vicious cycle that makes the problem ten times worse.
Afraid To Go To Bed?
When you get anxious about going to sleep, it’s kind of like a performance anxiety where you forget how to let your body do what it does naturally.
When you have more than a few sleepless nights it can be very distressing even thinking about trying to sleep. Add to that the pressures of life and work, and it can be a very harrowing experience indeed.
I’ve had my share of insomnia bouts so I know what it feels like to anxiously watch the clock knowing that each minute that ticks by means you’ll be even more tired the next day. But do you REALLY know that, or is it just a belief?
When you’re going through this kind of thing it can really feel as though you will never sleep again. But you will sleep again and in the meantime you have to accept where you are right now.
The Stories Your Mind Tells You
Being an insomnia aficionado I’m well versed in the stories we tell ourselves when we can’t get the sleep we need. Here are a few:
- I’ll never sleep again;
- I ‘MUST’ get X hours sleep or I won’t cope;
- I’m going to go insane;
- This lack of sleep is going to cause a serious illness
Actually, none of this is true. You WILL cope as you always have. You just don’t believe that right now because you’re sleep deprived and feeling vulnerable.
Lack of sleep can do funny things to the brain so if you’re really tired, you need to learn to recognise the ‘all-or-nothing’ thinking that fills your mind with doomsday predictions of permanent insomnia.
Acceptance is the Key
Have you ever had a night where you’re wide awake staring at the ceiling while the rest of the household whiles away the night in blissful slumber? Of course you have.
So you know that the more you try to think your way around this problem, the worse it becomes. Then at one point during the night you will inevitably say to yourself: ‘oh well, I’m not going to get any sleep tonight and that’s all there is to it’.
You’ll probably also notice that the moment you embrace your insomnia fully, the moment you stop trying to fight it, you drift off to sleep.
How To Practise Acceptance
When I have insomnia, I know that the best way to make it worse is to get frustrated and angry. So I have a mantra that I like to repeat: ‘No matter what I wish for, things are as they are’.
This helps me to realize that there is absolutely nothing I can do about this situation other than to accept it for what it is. Here are a couple of useful things to say to yourself when you’re struggling with sleep:
- Rest is nearly as good as sleep;
- It is what it is;
- My body will get the sleep it needs in its own time;
- Whatever happens I’ll handle it
And youWILL handle it. You’d be amazed at how good your body is at adapting to little or no sleep. It will carry on and work with you regardless of the number of hours you sleep.
Yes…It IS Unpleasant…
…No doubt about it. But it won’t kill you. So watch the stories you tell yourself about your insomnia. They are just constructs of the mind and you don’t have to take them as gospel.You can also take the help of hypnosis for anxiety Melbourne.
Fear of sleep is just a mind state – it will come and it will go. You can’t control your insomnia but you can make a choice about the way you’re going to react to it. In the meantime if you would like me to help you overcome your sleep phobia, contact me on this page any time.