How to take back control of your sleep

For those that suffer with insomnia, not being able to sleep is horrible at night.  And a lack of sleep negatively affects us during the day.  This is not news to insomniacs who must find ways to cope with this reality.

But what is striking about insomnia is how much of it we do to ourselves.  So much of our sleeping problems are self-imposed, usually from some combination of bad sleep habits and excessive worry. Many of us realize this, but seem powerless to do much about it.

So my message is this:  yes you can.

Yes, you can take back control of your sleep.  There are proven ways to do this.  You don’t have to needlessly suffer.

The interesting thing about sleep is that we can’t control it directly.  A frontal assault just doesn’t work.   Trying to force sleep usually pushes us the other way.  We tense up, we get frustrated and angry at our inability to sleep.  We just toss and turn for hours at a time with endless racing thoughts of worry.  We are unable to shut down and turn off our minds.

Rather than a frontal assault, what does work is an indirect approach to outflank insomnia.  We do this by creating conditions that support and enable sleep, rather than force sleep.  To do this, we in effect stack the deck in our favor during our waking hours to help us let go and sleep at night.  This approach works.

The first step in taking back control is really basic.  You make the decision.  You make the decision to no longer let your nights be ruled by insomnia.  When the choice is let insomnia control you or you control insomnia, that’s an easy decision to make.  And when you become determined, good things happen.

As you learn how to take back control, you will no doubt be consistently drawn toward the one method that has been proven to work consistently and especially well — cognitive behavioral therapy specifically designed for sleep.   CBT is actually a collection of common sense methods that, when combined and applied together, work remarkably well to restore sleep naturally, permanently, and without the use of drugs.

One of the first CBT steps is to set and keep a consistent and sensible sleep schedule to meet your unique needs.  This may be easier said than done.  It’s hard to force yourself to get up when you feel horribly sleep-deprived.  Yet your discipline in the morning pays off the next night with better sleep.  And better sleep the night after that, and after that again.  This is one way to begin to take back control.

There are many more common sense ideas in a good CBT sleep training program to help you strengthen your ability to sleep, including effective ways to finally take control over those racing thoughts.

So … do you feel powerless about your sleep?  What do you do to control it?

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

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