“I’ve forgotten how to fall asleep!”

Q:  “I’ve forgotten how to fall asleep.  All my life I’ve been a good sleeper, but now I’m having problems with insomnia.  I can’t seem to remember what I did before to fall asleep.  How can I relearn this?”

A:  The idea of of recreating the experience of falling asleep is very interesting, because that is one of the focal points of enabling better sleep.

Rest assured our minds and bodies are exquisitely attuned to the natural circadian rhythms of each day to get all the refreshing sleep we require.  However, problems that interfere with sleep can and do happen to most of us at one time or another.

If sleep problems are not caused by a medical condition such as apnea or chronic pain, they often can be attributed to some combination of bad sleep habits and excessive worry about the idea of sleep.  In fact, national surveys show the majority of insomnia is without a true medical cause.  Most often, sleep problems are self-inflicted.

Still, insomnia is invariably only a symptom.  It is a symptom of something deeper that is preventing or interfering with quality sleep. To get to the true root of the problem, you’ve therefore got to go beyond the symptoms, which for most of us are non-medical.

So given this situation, what can we do to relearn how to fall asleep?

Let’s start with this:  What we can’t do is try to force sleep.

Forcing sleep seems to backfire as it typically leads to more tossing and turning, more stress, more frustration. A vicious self-perpetuating cycle of insomnia often ensues from the frontal assault method of trying to force sleep.

An indirect approach is better. We can’t force sleep, but we can create the conditions, both mental and physical, that enable sleep.  There’s a big difference between forcing and enabling.

What we can do is relearn how to let go.  What we can do is create conditions that allow us to get drowsy.

That’s it.  To fall asleep, go for drowsy.  Then just let sleep happen on its own from there.

Drowsy is stage one sleep. It’s not true sleep, but drowsy is what’s necessary first.  Drowsy then leads to the deeper and truly refreshing stages of sound sleep.

There are a number of ways to intentionally create conditions that enable drowsiness.  They include setting a consistent sleep schedule for your unique needs, a dark quiet relaxing bedroom environment, daily exercise, maintaining a positive social support network, and learning how to turn down the dial a bit on stress and anxiety.  All these components are important and work together to help you get drowsy at the right time.   They all work together to produce better sleep.

All these components are part of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) applied specifically to insomnia, and you can learn it in the 6-week insomnia solution know as the Sleep Training System.  CBT-I  is very effective, and allows you to get to the true root of the problem without sleeping pills or drugs of any kind.

If you are looking for a comprehensive CBT-I solution, consider the STS.  It will help you relearn how to fall asleep, how to get drowsy at the right time, so you can consistently awaken refreshed from a good nights sleep.

Explore posts in the same categories: Health, Insomnia, sleep

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2 Comments on ““I’ve forgotten how to fall asleep!””

  1. Rosalind Says:

    I have had insomnia for about 14 years now, and it seems to be getting worse as the years go by. I have tried everything – I am so fed up of feeling exhausted. Any ideas?

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