Control negative thoughts for better sleep
If you are having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, a significant part of the problem likely stems from negative thoughts and beliefs about sleep. There can be a myriad of other causes that can keep you up of course — ranging from caffeine to allergies — but in general negative sleep thoughts and attitudes, which often are unrealistic and inaccurate, are the potent raw fuel that feeds insomnia. Reduce or cut off the energy that feeds these negative thoughts, and sleep improves.
Here’s a few common examples of the kinds of negative sleep thoughts that are likely distorted and overly pessimistic, and which often fuel insomnia:
If I don’t fall asleep right now, my performance will suffer tomorrow.
I’ll have another bad day today because I had another bad night last night.
It’s hard for me to let go and fall asleep.
Oh no, I’m up again! This is out of control!
Any of these sound familiar? If you are having trouble sleeping, you are hardly alone. Millions of people think just like this, but you should realize this kind of thinking is counterproductive. It only works to increase worry and anxiety, which undermine good sleep.
The keys to overcoming negative thinking are to first identify the negative thoughts and understand why these thoughts have little to no basis or truth to them. This understanding then allows you to safely disregard them. You then replace the negative thoughts with something better, more positive, something that you control and that is supportive of good sleep. This entire process, known in psychology as cognitive restructuring, can be repeated throughout the day and night, whenever negative thoughts crop up. It only takes a few seconds to do once you learn the technique.
Eventually, without mental energy fueling them, the negative thoughts wither up and die. They go away for good. What’s left are more positive and accurate beliefs about sleep, thoughts that you control, and which support good sleeping.
For better sleep, it’s important to understand you in fact control your thoughts. You can choose, if you so desire, to think about sleep in more accurate and realistic terms. This will help you sleep better.
There are many effective ways to learn cognitive restructuring techniques, which form one cornerstone of cognitive behavioral therapy specifically designed for insomnia. CBT works. It has been clinically proven to help most people sleep better, and many who’ve tried it eventually become normal sleepers again.
If you are not satisfied with your sleep, we invite you to take a look at the Sleep Training System, an online, downloadable CBT-based sleep improvement program. The user-friendly STS takes you step-by-step through highly effective cognitive restructuring techniques plus offers many more CBT-based tools for better sleep. The STS is a permanent and natural insomnia solution that has no side effects and requires no drugs of any kind.
Please feel free to contact us with your sleep questions, or if you’d like more information about the STS.