Hey. It’s Devin Burke, the founder of Sleep Science Academy, and your coaching guide to Getting Your Best Nice Rest. Today we’re going to be talking about how to eliminate sleep anxiety and wake up feeling amazing. Now, first and foremost, sleep anxiety is a real thing. People actually get anxious about their sleep, and this is more common than you might realize. And if this is you, if have what we call at Sleep Science Academy bed dread, then you’re definitely going to want to watch till the end or listen till the end because this is going to be a very powerful step-by-step training for you to understand how to shift out of that anxiety if you’re ready to do that. So let’s get and just jump right in here.
So first and foremost, in order to eliminate sleep anxiety, you need to identify the thoughts that are creating the anxiety in the first place. Now, what we do at Sleep Science Academy is we have a very long list of the most common thoughts that most people that don’t sleep have. And after reading that list, they quickly realize that those thoughts are not their own thoughts. If other people are having those same thoughts, then they’re not their own and they’re not unique. So you want to identify the ones that have the strongest sting or push or trigger for you, which might be, if I don’t sleep, I’m going to die. It might be if I don’t sleep, I’m going to end up having a divorce. It might be my sleep system is broken. There’s a million other things that it could be.
But what you need to do if you want to eliminate sleep anxiety is identify what are the thoughts that create the sensations in your body. And sometimes this takes a little bit of practice and a little bit of time because often we are not even aware of our thoughts and beliefs. We just experience this racing heart and maybe this tense tight stomach or constriction in the chest. We feel these sensations and they might seem to come on without any type of thought or thinking. So if you create a little bit of space and a little bit of mindfulness and attention and awareness to when you start to experience bed dread or sleep anxiety and you start to check in, well, what am I thinking about that’s creating these sensations? That’s really the first step.
Then the second step here is after you do that, is to ask yourself this question, are these thoughts useful? Are these thoughts useful? This is so important to ask yourself. And you’ll find very quickly that most of the thoughts that you’re thinking are not useful or at least they’re not useful to help you eliminate the anxiety around sleep. So what’s not useful, we want to explore and then we eventually want to let go or accept. So this is where it becomes a little bit tricky for certain people because some of the thoughts you’re thinking might be true, but they might not be useful.
So let me give you an example of what that might look like. So you might have a thought of, if I don’t sleep, my immune system’s going to get lower and I’m going to get sick. Now, that is scientifically true. If you don’t sleep, your immune system does lower and there is a possibility, maybe even a high possibility that you’re going to get sick. But by thinking that thought, it’s actually going to create more cortisol, more adrenaline or no adrenaline, it’s going to create anxiety. It’s an anxiety-inducing thought. So if that’s going to happen, then that’s going to keep you from sleep, which is then going to be a self-fulfilling prophecy that then leads you possibly to getting sick.
So again, just because something may or may not be true, that’s where it can people get a little bit confused. I like to just check in, well, is this useful? Is this thought useful? It might be true, but is it useful? So once you identify your thinking, next step, is it useful? And then once you identify that it’s not useful, then the third step here is to let go. Practice letting go or accepting the thoughts and beliefs. A lot of times people get stuck to… They try to push away their beliefs or push away their thoughts or not distract themselves. That doesn’t work. Maybe temporarily that can work. But really you have to do some inquiry and practice allowing your thoughts to be there without judgment, without expectation, without pushing them away or distracting yourself. Just allowing the thought to be there and then noticing what happens when you allow it to be there and practicing just letting it flown on by.
So acceptance is simply, truly being okay with what is and true acceptance is truly being okay with when we’re talking about sleep. Whether you sleep great or you don’t sleep great you’re okay. Now that might sound a little bit crazy. Well, the whole purpose of me watching this video is so that I could sleep better, that I can get rid of my anxiety. Now you’re telling me that I need to accept it. So acceptance isn’t resignation. Acceptance is just being okay with what is. Whether it’s what you want or not is again, that puts you in a place of neutral, which then allows your body to do what it knows how to do, which is sleep.
So acceptance does not mean you have to like what is. I’m going to say that again. Acceptance does not mean you have to what is and what is simply what you got. The reality of the situation if you wake up in the middle of the night, obviously no one likes to wake up in the middle of the night, but if you’re waking up in the middle of the night, that’s what is. So if you start getting frustrated and anxious and fearful and trying to do things that distract yourself or try to control or manipulate your sleep, you’re just going to stay up the rest of the night. That doesn’t work. We know what doesn’t work. And what does work is actually just putting your body in mind in a place of acceptance. And this does take practice.
Acceptance doesn’t mean you have to agree with what is, or you can swap out what is with reality or your experience in the moment. And this is another important distinction. It’s have to like it. You don’t have to agree with it. And this definitely accepts, and here’s another sticky one for people. Doesn’t mean you can’t put forth effort in changing what is your situation. Now, this can be a tricky thing because oftentimes we find, at least at our clients that we work with, they try to do things so that they can sleep. And we always say, don’t do things so that you can sleep. Just do them to do them. And if you’re doing things that put your body in a relaxed state, sleep happens. Sleep happens, it comes. But if you’re trying to force and control, and I’m doing this so that I can sleep, then there’s an expectation that by doing that you will sleep. And if it doesn’t happen, then here it go more anxiety.
So really important, acceptance doesn’t mean that you can’t put forth effort and changing what is, but it’s really about how you think about what you’re doing that can make all the difference here. Truly accepting the way things are is the foundation for psychological wellbeing when you really can get to a place of practice acceptance, because it is a practice. And we are quite often in the practice of resisting our reality and resisting the things in our reality that we don’t like or we don’t want, which is totally human. If you put your hand on a stove, you move your hand off the stove. We’re biologically programmed to avoid pain. This is how we survive. And unfortunately, this is also how we get stuck in experiencing anxiety.
So sometimes when it’s emotional pain or sensations in the body, rather than trying to run away or distract ourselves, we actually need to lean in. We need to be present with what those feelings are, those thoughts, those beliefs, those emotions. And when we do that, that’s when we actually have true breakthroughs versus distraction or running the other way, you’re kicking the can down the road. So when we’re in a place of acceptance, this gives our bodies and minds the greatest chance for sleep to happen. And it’s so simple that often we miss it.
So I really hope that you are listening to some of the recommendations on this video. If you’re watching this and you’re someone that has sleep anxiety, which chances are if you got to this point in the video or listening to it on audio, then obviously what I’m saying is resonating with you. And you are definitely someone that has sleep anxiety or otherwise you probably wouldn’t have clicked on the link or listened to this. So please do something about it. If you need support, reach out to us. We are experts in helping people really get free of what we call the sleep paradox, which is trying to force or control, sleep, all these psychological hidden patterns that people get find themselves in. We help unravel them and really help people have breakthroughs.
So if you know, need support with this process that I went through, reach out. We’d love to have a conversation. See if our approach is the right approach for you. If you found this valuable and you’re not a subscriber, please subscribe. Hit the bell so you get notifications when I release future videos, share it with somebody that might find this useful. And until next time, sleep well.