3 Simple Steps to Peaceful Sleep
I’m Ian, a qualified, accredited and award winning hypnotherapist and sleep coach. Many parents struggle through each day feeling overwhelmed and tired as they suffer from repeated nights of poor sleep. I use a combination of hypnotherapy and CBTi to help parents break free from their anxious thoughts and enjoy night after night of peaceful sleep so they have the vitality to live life to the full.
After being made redundant from my job as a PE teacher I experienced the same problems as you. I understand the frustration you are currently feeling, thankfully there is a simple and effective escape. I made the decision to train to become a qualified hypnotherapist. I utilised the theory and practises taught to me to take control of my anxiety, freeing myself from negative thoughts.
In this guide I will share with you some of the powerful and effective strategies I used to help me and my clients, reduce overwhelm around sleep. They will enable you to take control of your anxious thoughts, allowing you to switch off, freeing yourself from obsessing about your sleep.
Who is the lead magnet for?
This guide is for you if:
- You’re currently finding life overwhelming. Parenting brings with it so many responsibilities that can make your mind feel like a revolving door of worry.
- You’re beginning to realise that sleeping aids just don’t work but you don’t know what does.
- You’re tired, irritable and putting off doing things you enjoy due to your lack of sleep.
- You’ve started to dread going to bed as you know you’ll just lie there awake.
And you want to:
- Understand what’s happened that means you no longer can sleep well.
- Break free from your reliance on ineffective sleep aids.
- Take control of your anxiety so you can sleep peacefully and have the energy to fully immerse yourself into family life.
- Have a way of dealing with your immediate worries each day.
Step 1 Understanding what’s caused your insomnia
Your insomnia has been caused by a trigger. This is often a stressful event such as a divorce, bereavement or redundancy. It can however be a much less stressful occasion such as a minor illness.
The trigger then meant that you didn’t sleep well for several nights in a row. As humans we’re very intolerant to a lack of sleep, so very quickly we start to worry and become anxious about it. Because of this we focus on it in order to try and fix it.
Perhaps you went to bed earlier, tried to lie in or you started to have an afternoon nap in an attempt to catch up on your sleep. But you didn’t sleep as you didn’t have a strong sleep drive and instead you lay in bed worrying about your lack of sleep and what impact it will have on the following day.
By changing your routine, you started to un align your sleep/ wake cycle. As you hadn’t gone to bed at your usual time your brain wondered why on earth you’re in bed so early. As you didn’t have a strong drive to sleep, you spent those extra hours in bed in an aroused state worrying about not sleeping, therefore weakening your connection with your bed.
After another few weeks of disturbed sleep you began to really focus your efforts on sorting out your sleep and started researching things you’re told can help. You might have tried a variety of sleep aids and tried over the counter medicines. They didn’t provide long term help. This increased your anxiety around sleep and you began to fear going to bed as you know you won’t sleep.
You’ve actually now become so focused on sleep that you’ve forgotten how to do it naturally.
Why sleep aids and sleep hygiene routines don’t work
The simple fact is they don’t work because they can’t reset your sleep/ wake cycle or strengthen your sleep drive. Sleep aids don’t decrease your arousal either (except for prescribed sleeping tablets but they can’t reset your sleep/wake cycle or build your sleep drive).
Your dependency on following an ineffective sleep hygiene routine and using sleep aids is actually one of the major reasons why you don’t sleep. You’ve become so focused on trying to sleep, you’re increasing your arousal and stopping yourself from sleeping!
Think back to when you did sleep well. What’s missing? An ineffective sleep hygiene routine and ineffectual sleeping aids I’d bet
Over the next 7 days your aim is to try and change your view of sleep aids in order to help to end your dependency on them. If you are doing something as you originally thought it might help you sleep but actually now enjoy it, please continue it. The more you fill your life with things that you enjoy the better you will sleep. Just remember you are continuing to do it as you enjoy it, not because it’s going to help you sleep.
If you are currently taking prescribed sleeping tablets, please speak to your G.P before you stop taking them. Suddenly stopping can cause rebound insomnia which can make your insomnia worse.
List all the sleep aids you can ever remember using
Put a number next to them to represent how effective you found them in helping you to sleep (1-10, 1 being least effective to 10 most).
If you are still using sleeping aids, list them in either the easy to give up, quite difficult to give up or hard to give up. Over the next 7 days try to give up as many as you can that you have placed in either the easy or medium categories.
(underneath this text please place 5 rectangles for the answers to be added. The first one should be titled ‘Sleep aids I’ve used’ The second ‘Sleep aids I will find easy to give up’ The third ‘Sleep aids I will find quite difficult to give up’ the forth ‘Sleep aids I will find it hard to give up’ and the last one ‘Things I will continue as I enjoy them’
Step 2 – Understanding anxiety
You have become so focused on your sleep that it has increased your arousal making it difficult for you to sleep well. You’ve completely un-learnt how to sleep naturally.
The secret to taking long term control of your anxiety is to focus on all the little positive things that happen during your day.
You create anxiety when you think negatively. It’s not the events in your life that causes you to be anxious but your thoughts around them.
There was a time when you slept naturally and your thoughts were not consumed by sleep. It was just something that happened at the end of every day and therefore there was no anxiety attached to it. However, now you find your thoughts can often be focused on the terrible night’s sleep that you had last night and the poor night’s sleep that no doubt you’ll have tonight.
Every negative thought that you have goes into a stress bucket. Don’t forget these worries don’t have to be just around sleep, all worries enter your bucket. You can think negatively about the past or the future event whether it be real or imagined.
What’s been filling your bucket?
What negative thoughts have entered your stress bucket in the last couple of days?
List as many worries (real or imagined) as you can remember that have been on your mind.
(underneath this please place the outline of the bucket that I will send you. This will probably take up one half of a page)
If that’s just your worries from the last couple of days, imagine how much you’ve been filling it up over the last few months.
The fuller your stress bucket is then the more anxious you are. Behind the scenes your brain sees each worry as a threat and so releases stress hormones to help to prepare you for fight or flight. The more worries you have, the more stress hormones you produce and the further away from peaceful sleep you get.
If you start to focus on the more positive parts of your life, then less negative thoughts will enter your stress bucket. Your brain has an amazing ability to change. Instead of alerting you to all the negative aspects of your life it will start to look out for the positive things in it. You will become your own brain surgeon!
What’s been good?
Each day for 7 days write down a positive action, positive interaction or a positive thought that you have had.
To help you empty your stress bucket I have included a hypnosis download, the link can be found at the bottom of this guide. For the next 7 days after you’ve noted down your positive things then find yourself a comfy spot where you won’t be disturbed, rest your head back, close your eyes and listen to the recording. Just allow your mind to drift and dream and take you to wherever it decides to go.
Step 3 – Dealing with your immediate worries
Living with anxiety causes us to think with the primitive, emotional part of our brains. Its main job is to keep us safe. In order to do that it likes to catastrophise and lie to us. It believes that by reminding us of our worries it is keeping us safe from them.
Our heads can then become full of both real worries and hypothetical worries. Both of them will mean that we will find it difficult to sleep.
The worry window
Put aside around 10 to 15 minutes each day to write down your thoughts.
Often we don’t address our worries and we just let them shape our thinking or we try to dismiss them only for them to reappear later.
The worry window is a chance for you to write down anything that’s on your mind. You might want them to be specific to your sleep or you might want to include concerns you have about other aspects of your life, either is fine. Some worries will be ‘real’ but many will be ‘hypothetical’
By writing them down you’re acknowledging them, this sends a clear message to your brain that they’re being dealt with. This makes your brain less likely to either want to wake you up to remind you of them or play them out in your mind when you’re trying to get to sleep.
Before you write down your thoughts ask yourself ‘Do I have any control over this?’ If you do it’s a ‘real’ worry if you don’t it’s a ‘hypothetical one’
If your worry is real, spend some time making a plan. By doing so when the worry enters your mind again, you can help to reassure the emotional part of your brain that it’s under control so it no longer sees this as a threat.
Hypothetical worries are your emotional part of your brain lying to you. When I was made redundant my mind was constantly lying to me, telling me I’d never get another job or never sleep well again.
To help address your hypothetical worries, write down the evidence why these worries aren’t true. With repetition, in the face of this evidence, the emotional part of your brain will learn to stand down and not trouble you with these thoughts.
So now you have a practical guide detailing how you can remove your anxiety around sleep, what’s your next move? There’s 3 common responses to receiving free information like this….
The first is “That’s really interesting. I might use this later”
Then you do nothing and you continue to live suffering from the effects of an overactive mind and repeated nights of restless sleep.
The second is “Wow, this could really help”
You try out some of the exercises but feel overwhelmed and slip back into your old ways of focusing on your sleep and trying more and more ineffective sleep aids. I understand it’s really hard to make the consistent changes necessary to achieve freedom from your anxious thoughts without support.
The third is ‘Brilliant, this is exactly what I need!”
You’re ready to invest in yourself and do whatever it takes to free yourself from the damaging physical and mental effects of a life of anxiety and insomnia. You have faith in your ability to change but realise you’re going to need guidance and support.
Are you ready to free yourself from your overwhelming thoughts and retrain your brain to sleep well?
If you’re still reading this, I’m confident that you are. You now realise that it’s time to seize the day and invest in your wellbeing. Life is not fun when you’re just coping, especially when you have the ability to thrive!
Following the Sleep Well and Shine program will save you from night after night of poor sleep by…
Enabling you to break the current pattern of insomnia which has built up in your brain.
Building up a new beneficial sleeping pattern in it.
Enabling you to break free from your anxious thoughts.
Building up a positive relationship with your bed and bedroom. Your bed will no longer be a battle ground but a place of peace and tranquillity.
Together we can make change happen!
Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is based entirely on neuroscience. There is no guesswork. You will learn and follow proven practices to free yourself from your emotional, irrational, anxious mind so you can think with clarity and positivity.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for insomnia is the only practice that has numerous scientific studies to support its effectiveness in helping people to overcome insomnia. Its success rate blows everything else out of the water………… We’re talking around 85%, now couple that with Solution Focused Hypnotherapy and then just allow yourself a moment to imagine how different your life could be after 12 weeks of one to one targeted support.
But don’t just take my word for it. Here are just some of the reviews from clients I have recently worked with after they’ve removed unwanted anxiety or insomnia from their lives.