“What if tonight I fail?”

Question:  “I’m 39 and have been a bad sleeper since my early 20s.  I toss and turn most of the night and often sleep in until 2 or 3 in the afternoon.  I want to change but it’s hard and I have the constant worry ‘what if tonight I fail?’  Do I have any chance of ever becoming a normal sleeper?”

This question describes the very common combination of bad sleep habits and excessive worry about the idea of sleep that for many of us probably underlies insomnia.  For most of us, insomnia is primary — meaning without a true medical basis. And that’s why sleeping pills can be problematic.

In the absence of a medical basis for insomnia, many experts suggest sleeping pills can do more harm than good, because they don’t treat the root causes — the aforementioned combination of bad sleep habits and excessive worry about sleep. Pills also reinforce the idea that the solution to our sleeping problems is external and resides out of our self-control.

For instance, the “what if I fail tonight” thought, which is common for insomniacs, is a great example of a negative sleep thought that we in fact control. It’s thoughts like these that feed insomnia. That’s where it gets its energy. We inadvertently do it to ourselves to some extent.

And of course getting up at 2 or 3 in the afternoon will absolutely wreak havoc with our sleep systems, because we as human beings are genetically and exquisitely attuned to rise with the sun and sleep when its dark.

But can this person ever become a normal sleeper?  Our answer is yes, absolutely this person has at least a chance to become a normal sleeper. If, as the question suggests, insomnia for this person is largely a do-it-yourself project, then the key to better sleep is in his or her hands right now, as it is for many of us.

To sleep better permanently, you need to get to the root of the problem. Pills alone can’t do it.  To get to the root of the problem, we suggest a sleep training program based on cognitive-behavioral therapy.

CBT works.  CBT improves the sleep of most insomniacs who try it. It’s important, however, to take a comprehensive approach with a CBT-based sleep training program, to incorporate a variety of methods like sleep restriction therapy along with many other tools and techniques. All these methods work beneficially together.  A comprehensive approach, including the all-important mental component, helps you get to the true roots of the problem.

A comprehensive CBT-based program like the Sleep Training System helps you not only cultivate healthier sleep habits, but also helps you cut off the negative energy that feeds insomnia.  Both methods working together are important.

For more information on how the STS can help you permanently sleep better without the use of drugs, or to ask a sleep-related question, please feel free to contact us.

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

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