A trick to get your mind off of “not sleeping” (and more)

Some of the questions that came in over the last few days:

Sam asks:

after two weeks I started sleeping quite well – from about 5 hours to 61/2 and was feeling really good – even sleeping back in bed with my partner and not being woken by the snoring.

Then I slipped back to my old early mornings again – I’m not really sure what happened – i did start my degree course – but I was excited about it and not anxious – It also started to go wrong a week before my period. this lasted for about two weeks (the insomnia) – now I seem to be sleeping better again.

Is this normal?

I am still listening to insomnia buster each night but mostly can’t remember anything – as I fall asleep – should I be concious of the words??

When I wake and can’t get back to sleep (circling thoughts – not normally stressful thoughts though) I listen to the fall to sleep one – even if it is 4am in the morning – sometimes I fall back to sleep – but at the very least it quiets my mind.

Anyway, i am looking forward to some good sleep – but wondered if it is normal to go back to the old sleeping patterns.

My answer:

Progress is not linear and thus it is totally normal to have some back and forth… especially if you face some stressful situation close to your periods.

Don’t try to remember the words that are spoken. You don’t even need to focus intently on them.

Even when you’ll consider yourself a “good sleeper”, you’ll have some not-so-good nights — it’s just that you will treat them as a minor and temporary inconvenience, won’t turn them into a problem and so won’t start being anxious about them. Being relaxed around it all will be a key component in pertaining to the “good sleepers” group!

Mike asks:

I recently came across some articles about fluoride in tap water causing calcification on the pineal gland and causing a reduction in melatonin. I guess because this is your area of expertise I thought you might have some ideas on this subject. Is that something to be concerned about enough to spend $300 on a water filter?

My answer:

I don’t know about calcification of the pineal gland, but I know that the less chemical stuff we ingest, the better we are in the long term — and since water carries a lot of that stuff in small and not-so small quantities, I would say: get the best water filter you can afford for all-around health.

Steve asks:

I truly believe my inability to consistently sleep is my fear of not sleeping.

I will have a great night and I’ll have tremendous energy the next day. It’s like I never had a sleep issue. But then the following night when I lay down I don’t fall immediately asleep. It could be because I’m not extremely exhausted but since I don’t fall asleep real quickly, I start to feel anxious about having a bad night.

I know you say to say “so what” if I have a bad night but it seems really tough to do. Is there any other tricks I could get my mind off not sleeping? I like the sleep tracks but after listening to them I’m familiar with the words so my mind has a hard time focusing on them.

My answer:

Try this Steve:

Don’t focus on the words of the track you’re listening to. Use a version without voice, even. Then instead of placing your attention on trying to fall asleep, do those 2 things while lying on your back, as if you were performing some exercise:

  • keep your eyes open, looking vaguely in front of you in the dark;
  • place your attention on the inside of your torso, and in the coming in and out of air in your belly and lungs;
  • if you notice at some point your eyes have closed, gently open them up again. Return your attention on your breath and the inside of your body.

See how that goes! If you’re like me, you’ll find that your eyes want to close almost irresistibly — and if they don’t, I would suspect that you are not very sleepy at that moment. If you’re not sleepy, why are you in bed in the first place?

To get further and more personalized help, get some one-on-one coaching. I’ve revised how I offer the consultations focusing on sleep/anxiety, and now can usually get very good results in 2 sessions. Let me know if you’re interested in that.

picture: marimoon

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