Do You Have Trouble Getting Back to Sleep?

In the last newsletter I wrote about how many people have trouble getting to sleep and the possible causes, like worry and fear.

A lack of sleep produces tiredness which can be debilitating with symptoms like irritability, poor performance, an increase in making mistakes, poor reaction time, problems putting words together and impaired motor co-ordination.

To counteract this tiredness, the most common remedy is to drink more coffee (or another stimulant) which has the function of helping the person get through their day. Some will get a prescription for sleeping tablets so they get a good nights sleep.

If you are having problems sleeping, look for a cause. In my last newsletter, I discussed some of the causes and possible remedies.

One that I have since learnt about is the colour of your bedroom walls. Ensure it is conducive to sleeping. Research shows good colours are blues and the worst are colours that create energy or negative thoughts – like purple, grey and brown.

Problems Staying Asleep

Many people say they wake up after about 4 hours of sleep and can’t get back to sleep. They finally nod off half an hour before the alarm goes off!

If you can relate to this, your mind is saying you are gaining a bigger benefit from being awake than from being asleep. Thus, it is important to identify and treat this benefit.

The benefits generally fall into two categories:

1. Worry

Your mind will only rest when it is at peace.

Have you ever gone to bed wondering whether you have locked the back door? Half an hour later you will still be wondering and wide awake. It is only when you get up and check the door that you will have peace of mind and will enter a good sleep.

If you go to bed with “things on your mind”, your mind will wake you up during the night to get you to sort it out. Two ways to deal with this:

  • Sort your problems and worries out before you go to bed, and
  • Have a pen and pad on your bedside table and when you do wake up, make a note of your worries. As your mind now knows you have it written down, it is more likely to return to sleep.

2. The ‘Workaholic’

Some people don’t allow themselves to relax and have to be doing something every minute of every day. They are often heard to say “There is not enough time in a day”. These people never take “time out” as they are forever doing things. Sleep is seen as “dead time” so they get the absolute minimum as their mind focuses on what has to be done.

Because there is a bigger need to be doing something than sleeping, their mind keeps them awake going through all the things that need to be done.

Now you may be saying “That’s not me”. Here’s a check to see if it applies to you.

Time yourself to see how long you can sit in the one place doing nothing and thinking about only one thing. Stare at something and see how long you can hold your concentration before your mind wanders.

If you are like most people, it will be about 10 seconds.

Another indication of the need to do things is restless legs and can’t sit still.

If you are still not sure, ask your partner if any of this applies to you ☺.

If this does apply to you, it is important to give yourself permission to relax and process sleep as a productive part of your day. Focus on the benefits of getting a great nights sleep, like it helps you think clearer, have more energy, be more productive and improves your health.

When going to bed, say to yourself: “Sleep is productive time. I’m looking forward to getting 8 ours of health restoring sleep so I can be productive tomorrow.”

If none of these work and there is no physical reason why you should not be sleeping, see if you can identify some benefit you unconsciously receive from staying awake.

Let me know how you go in the comments section below.

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