1. We get emotional. We might feel frustrated, sad or just down right mad. We think about how bad it is going to be in the morning and how horrible our whole day will be. I have yet to meet someone who thinks. “Oh, thank God I don’t have to do all that pesky sleeping to replenish myself. I need lots and lots more conscious time for these swirling, never-ending, aggravating thoughts. This is great.”
2. We TRY to sleep. We toss and turn. We ruminate. There is an amazing amount of energy spent just worrying and thinking. And by the way, in case you didn’t already figure this out, things are always, I repeat ALWAYS worse at night. Things are scarier, debt is higher, you are fatter (okay that last one is probably just me).
3. Your self-esteem takes a hit. “If I were a better person, I would have enough money, people would like me, I would have a better job”. If I were better, I could sleep. These crummy thoughts and subsequent feelings follow you into morning because, guess what, you are tired.
1. The minute you can’t sleep or can’t go back to sleep, say to yourself. "I am not able to sleep right now". State the fact. Being a little pragmatic here will help you to not dive headfirst into all the emotional drama a sleepless night has in store for you.
2. Either sit up or get up. Laying there is not going to fix it. If it were you would have been asleep back at number 2 above.
3. Do something productive. BUT, calmly productive. Don’t over stimulate yourself by watching TV or going out to your shop to fix the lawn mower. Some potential activities include lite reading (a magazine, not The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo or Hunger Games) journaling is good, or knitting (yes knitting).
4. Most importantly. Give yourself permission to REST instead of sleep. You may not be able to sleep, but you can be in a restful, calm state. You can be awake and agitated, or you can be awake and calm. Reserve your energy by being calm. Sleep is vitally important, but if you can’t, you can’t. You can be calmer if you accept that you are simply awake and not that the world is falling apart.
I am are here to discuss whatever stressors are keeping you up at night. I will advise, discuss options with you or just listen. A therapist or sleep specialist can assist you if you find you can’t sleep for an extended period of time.