If you’ve ever suffered from insomnia and researched potential treatment options then you might have come across a form of therapy known as CBT-i – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia.
This form of treatment is based on the idea that for the majority of people who suffer from insomnia, a change in thoughts (Cognitive) and actions (Behavioral) are required as part of the treatment plan.
This is because in the majority of cases it is thoughts and behaviors that are largely to blame for the development of insomnia.
Yes initially there may have been some trigger event such as the loss of a job, or a death in the family that caused poor sleep.
But long after this event has passed there are thoughts and behaviors that are resulting in poor sleep on an ongoing basis.
SO if you know that thoughts and behaviors are strongly to blame, then in order to treat the insomnia effectively you need to treat the root causes – those thoughts & behaviors.
In this article we’re going to look specifically at the role that negative sleep thoughts can have on your ability to sleep well.
How Your Thoughts Can Impact Your Sleep
If you’ve ever had a conversation with someone who’s suffering from poor sleep or insomnia, you might have noticed something interesting in the way they described their situation.
- They might have described themselves as a poor sleeper.
- They might have called themselves an insomniac.
- They might have stated their belief that nothing they try can help them get more sleep.
- They might have stated that their day was going to be terrible because they only got 4 hours of sleep last night.
- They might have stated their belief that the only way they can fall asleep is with the help of medication.
In general they’ll have quite negative thoughts about their ability to sleep as well as about how their sleep is negatively impacting their life.
What they don’t realize in most cases is that these ‘Negative Sleep Thoughts’ actually have a reinforcing effect and make it even more difficult to turn the situation around.
As Henry Ford once famously said:
Whether you think you can…or you think you can’t…you’re correct.
How a person thinks about their ability to sleep has an effect on that ability.
And someone’s beliefs about their ability to deal with and overcome short term sleep issues can have an impact on whether those short term issues become long term issues.
So one great way that health professionals can help their clients sleep better is by identifying and calling out those clients whose negative thoughts about sleep might be having an impact on their ability to sleep.
And this is one that I can attest to personally as being a big factor in my poor sleep in the past and my ability to turn that around.
When I Was A ‘Poor Sleeper’
I spent many years telling myself (and others) that I was a poor sleeper. And I believed there was nothing I could do to change that.
The truth was, both my thoughts and behaviors were at fault.
There was nothing intrinsically wrong with me. My ability to sleep wasn’t broken. I had just convinced myself that it was.
Once I became conscious of the fact that my thinking about sleep was affecting my ability to sleep I immediately started to make changes.
I stopped calling myself a bad sleeper. I stopped talking about any night where I had a bad sleep.
I stopped focusing on days where I was sleep deprived and started focusing on those day where I had gotten a good sleep and reverse engineered why it had happened.
I’m not saying your mindset is the solution to all sleep problems.
But without the right mindset it is much tougher to implement the strategies that can improve your sleep.
So start to become aware of the way your clients talk about sleep.
And where possible try to encourage them to avoid ‘labeling’ themselves as a poor sleeper or an insomniac.
We look at ‘Negative Sleep Thoughts’ as part of the ‘5 Weeks To Better Sleep‘ program which is built around CBT-i techniques (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy).
‘Negative Sleep Thoughts’ are dealt with as part of the ‘Cognitive’ aspect of the program.
This is a $97 program, but if you’re a health professional you can give your clients free access to this program if you’re part of our HMHQ Membership.
You can head to the link below to learn more about how this membership can help you grow your business.