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hard to get to sleep?


Originally created for the amazing people on my email list!



Hi there. I’m really sorry to hear that you’re suffering with sleep onset insomnia. Sometimes people know this as sleep initiation insomnia, but basically, you know what it feels like? It’s just hard to get to sleep. There are two fundamental mental overarching issues that affect our ability to fall asleep.

One is called sleep drive. Now, sleep drive is a biological process, and it’s only fed and increased by two things wakefulness and physical activity. So I would suggest that even if it’s difficult, even if you find it hard to muster the energy to try to increase your level of physical activity throughout the day, that doesn’t mean you have to go out and run a marathon. It could be anything, even taking extra trips up and down the stairs. It’s also really important to wake up at the same time every day.

Now you might hear that and think, oh, that’s a sleep hygiene tip, but it’s not actually, it is a part of the Behavioural treatment in cognitive Behavioural therapy for insomnia. So why is this important? It allows you to train your sleep drive build up in your circadian rhythm so that you’re more likely to be able to fall asleep when bedtime comes. The second overarching factor has to do with our relationship with our bed. When we have insomnia for a long time, the bed and the bedroom basically becomes a battleground for sleep, and as long as we view it as a battleground, sleep is always going to be a challenge.

How do you improve your relationship with your bed if you’re struggling to get to sleep? The most important thing you can do is retrain your Association between sleepy feelings and the bed. And the best way to do that is by only going into your bed and into your bedroom when you are so sleepy that you’re are likely to fall asleep. Now it takes some time, persistence and consistency, but this is extremely helpful in helping people overcome sleep onset insomnia. I hope you found this helpful and I’ll see you in the next email.