To sleep or not to sleep…that is the problem

There is so much fear and emotion around sleep, curing insomnia is a multi million pound business and the media can get quite hysterical about it all. So why all the panic about getting a good nights sleep ?

Its probably because lying in bed exhausted but unable to sleep whilst your partner snores blissfully next to you is quite stressful !!! Our defenses are down in the early hours of the morning and therefore we are more vulnerable and emotional . Over time our unconscious starts to equate bed with misery and we are stuck with insomnia.

However , one thing to know is that although nowadays we believe that a good , uninterrupted 8 hours sleep is essential for our well-being , this is actually quite a new idea . As recently as the 1800’s the idea of two chunks of sleep with a few wakeful hours in between was normal. Medieval monks used to go to bed when it got dark , wake up to celebrate mass in the middle of the night and go back to bed. All considered perfectly normal and nobody dies of it .

It is the panic about waking up or not having our ‘ proper’ sleep that keeps us awake , so that is what needs to be addressed if you have trouble sleeping. Most of us wake up in the middle of the night but we go for a pee and go back to bed without worrying. It is when we wake up and our minds go into overdrive worrying about how long we have slept and how are we going to be tomorrow etc that is the problem. The panic about not sleeping is the problem, not the lack of sleep.

So get out of your own way, don’t plan, analyse or clock watch. If your rational brain was in charge what would it say ? ‘ So what if you don’t sleep ? you will cope , you have before. It won’t harm you because if it reached that stage your unconscious would kick in to save you as a reflex and you would sleep. If you needed sleep that much you would.  Try holding your breath… some point your body will kick in and take over to prevent you from harm.

If what you are doing to sleep doesn’t work then change it, all those ‘rules’ about what you need to sleep (precise room temperature , special pillow, duvet and various routines etc ) may be what is keeping you awake . Do something different and keep changing it until you find what works. Sleep is a massive issue for many people but if you take away the beliefs about what we ‘ need’ and the panic about what will happen if we don’t sleep then what we are left with is easier to deal with.

So thank you for reading and I wish you relaxing sleep and sweet dreams .