Devin Burke, founder of Sleep Science Academy and your coaching guide to getting your best night’s rest, explains how to eliminate sleep anxiety and wake up feeling amazing.
Sleep Anxiety Is Real
People getting anxious about their sleep is more common than you might realize. If this is you, then you have what we call bed dread at Sleep Science Academy. And you will want to watch this entire video because it offers powerful step-by-step training to help you understand how to shift out of that anxiety if you are ready.
Step 1: Identify the Anxious Thoughts
At Sleep Science Academy, we have a long list of the most common thoughts that people with sleep anxiety use. When clients read that list, they quickly understand that these thoughts are not their own. If others have the same thoughts, then they are not their thoughts; they are not unique.
You want to discern those perceptions with the most potent sting, push, or trigger, which for you may be one of these:
- If I don’t sleep, I’m going to die.
- Maybe if I don’t sleep, I will end up in a divorce.
- Perhaps my sleep system is broken.
There are a million other possibilities.
Eliminating sleep anxiety means you must discover the thinking that is creating sensations in your body, like a racing heart, a tense, tight stomach, or a constriction in your chest. Making these discoveries can take practice and require some time because we are frequently unaware of our thoughts and beliefs.
Typically, we feel sensations that seem to come on without thought or thinking. However, if you create some space and employ a little mindfulness, attention, and awareness when you begin experiencing bed dread or sleep anxiety, you will start to check in and ask, “What am I thinking about that’s creating the sensations?”
Being curious is the first step.
Step 2: Acceptance
Are These Thoughts Useful?
It is essential to ask yourself this question because you will quickly find that most of these thoughts are not helpful or useful in helping you eliminate the anxiety about sleep. We want to explore what is not useful and eventually accept it or let it go.
For some, this can get tricky because some thoughts might be true but are not helpful. For example, the thought may be, “If I don’t sleep, my immune system is going to be lower, and I will get sick.” It may be scientifically accurate that the immune system diminishes if you don’t sleep and it might increase the possibility that you will get sick.
However, entertaining that thought is going to create more cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline, and it’s going to create anxiety as an anxiety-inducing thought. The result of this perception is that it will keep you from sleeping and create a self-fulfilling prophecy that can lead to illness.
Again, the fact that something may or may not be true is where many get confused. I like to check in – is this useful?
It may be true, but is it a useful thought?
Once you identify the thinking, ask if it is useful.
If not, the third step is to let go, practice letting go or accepting the thoughts and beliefs.
People often get stuck trying to push away their beliefs and their thoughts or distract themselves and not think, which doesn’t work. These strategies may work temporarily, but you must be inquisitive and practice allowing the thoughts to be there without judgment or expectations, pushing them away, or distracting yourself.
Allow the thought to be there.
Notice what happens when you let it exist and practice letting it float on by.
Genuine acceptance is merely being okay with whether you sleep great or not; you are okay, which might sound a little crazy.
“The entire purpose of me watching this video is so I can sleep better, that I get rid of my anxiety. Now you tell me that I need to accept it!”
Acceptance isn’t resignation; it’s being okay with what is, whether it’s what you want or not, putting you in a neutral position that allows your body to do what it knows how to do: sleep. Acceptance doesn’t mean you have to like what it is, only that it’s what you have, the reality of the situation like when you awaken in the middle of the night; it is what you have.
If you become frustrated, anxious, and fearful and attempt to distract yourself or control and manipulate your sleep, you will likely be up the rest of the night. That strategy doesn’t work. We know it doesn’t work.
Here is what works: putting your body and mind in a place of acceptance. This perspective doesn’t mean you have to agree with what is or that you can swap out reality or your current experience for something else. And this is another crucial distinction; you don’t have to like or agree with it.
It does not mean you can’t try to change your situation. But this can get tricky as well because people try to do things so they can sleep. At Sleep Science Academy, we always say not to do things so that you can sleep, do them just to do them, and if those things put your body in a relaxed state, sleep happens naturally.
But if you’re trying to force and control things so you can sleep with the expectation that what you do will cause sleep and it doesn’t happen – more anxiety. Acceptance doesn’t prevent you from trying to change what is; it’s about how you think about what you’re doing that can make all the difference.
Genuinely accepting the way things are, is the foundation for psychological well-being.
We often resist our reality and the things we don’t like or don’t want, which is totally human.
Humans are programmed to avoid pain; that is how we survive. Unfortunately, this is also how we get stuck in experiencing anxiety. Often, when it’s emotional pain or sensations in the body, rather than running away or distracting ourselves, we need to lean in. We must be present with those feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and emotions.
When we can do that, we can have genuine breakthroughs versus distractions, kicking the can down the road. It’s so simple that we often miss it, but acceptance gives our bodies and minds the best chance for sleep to happen.
Sleep anxiety is a common issue for many who struggle to get sufficient quality rest. Eliminating sleep anxiety is as simple and complex as identifying the thoughts creating your anxiety, challenging those thoughts, and accepting them for what they are: the reality of your situation.
It may sound easy, but millions around the globe struggle nightly to overcome their anxiety regarding sleep. Finding the proper support and a program that serves your needs can be the difference between sleeping well or not.
Sleep Science Academy’s extremely successful (97% success rate) Dynamic Sleep Recalibration (DSR) program provides the support you need to conquer this sleep challenge. Each client works with their certified holistic health/sleep coach, who crafts a treatment plan to fit their lifestyle and needs.
DSR incorporates numerous methods and techniques, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I), Mindfulness Practices, NLP, and many other proven strategies for the most comprehensive natural insomnia treatment.
The Sleep Science Academy Difference and our 100% cash-back guarantee of success make choosing the best option for overcoming sleep issues like sleep anxiety and insomnia simple.
Don’t lose another night’s valuable rest.
Contact us today and schedule your complimentary sleep consultation with one of our certified sleep coaches. Take that first step in eliminating sleep anxiety and waking up feeling amazing.