Sleep disorders like insomnia are usually not born but made. Often they start during a time of situational stress like with the birth of a new baby, starting a new job, death of loved one, relationship problems. Most often people find that insomnia occurs as delayed sleep onset (difficulty falling asleep) or difficulty with sleep maintenance (difficulty staying asleep or sleeping long enough). Sometimes insomnia manifests as BOTH. I have had clients who before working with me got only 2 hours sleep per night, and in many cases had nights when they did not sleep at all.
Chronic insomnia as defined by the National Sleep Foundation is when difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep happens three or more nights per week, for at least three months.
If you were sleeping only 4 or 5 hours per night on a good night, with other nights where you were lying awake for hours, and sometimes all night, it's understandable that you might start to think of yourself as someone who is just not good at sleeping. A poor sleeper. Sleep just isn't something you're good at.
The problem with this is, sleep is the greatest factor that affects our health. And only ONE HOUR of lost sleep for ONE night is enough to impair our thinking, memory, reaction times, driving ability and emotional resilience, as well as our health.
Research has shown that adults need 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night, even when they think they function well on less. When these "high functioning" short sleepers are actually tested, they are as impaired as if driving drunk.
What I'm trying to say is, it's understandable that after months or years of sleep challenges, you might think of yourself as a poor sleeper. But accepting this reality and thinking that you can't change it is just not good enough. It's not good enough for your health, your happiness, your safety or the safety of the other people driving on the road with you.
How would you feel if you knew that your lack of sleep was not only a hazard to your own health, but to the health of everyone around you?
Maybe you're shaking your head now. Thinking that the last thing you need is more responsibility, more stress. And you're probably right. But sometimes it's not until we fully own and understand a problem, that we are able to change it.
So that leaves us with the question, can a poor sleeper really become a good sleeper? Can insomnia be cured?
My answer to that, based on 7 years of working with poor sleepers to turn them into good sleepers is ABSOLUTELY YES!
You absolutely can change from a poor sleeper to a good sleeper. Good sleep is your birthright. It's your defence against your disease and your refuge from the stresses of life. But it won't happen overnight and it will require action and determination.
Have you heard of the expression fake it 'til you make it? My last facebook live Sleep and Relax show was on just that topic. Fake it 'til you make it isn't about living unauthentically. It's about doing the right actions, adopting the right mindset and re-training yourself to get the results you want.
Where sleep is concerned, we want to STOP bad behaviours and thoughts that interfere with good sleep, START practicing good sleep hygiene or habits, and perhaps most importantly, adopt the mindset of good sleepers.
Do you think good sleepers lie in bed awake worrying about the day they just had or the day yet to come? Do they criticise themselves for all the mistakes they have made and at bedtime choose to go over and over in their mind how other people have wronged them? Do good sleepers worry, stress or agonise about sleep?
I'll leave it to you to chat to the good sleepers in your life and quiz them on what they think about at bedtime. One study I read about shared that poor sleepers thought about bills, plans, worries, people and past situations. What did good sleepers think about at bedtime? "Nothing in particular."
This alone will not change you into a good sleeper, but it's part of the complex puzzle that could mean good sleep for you.
Over the years I have created from that complex puzzle a 12 week course that guides people effectively from poor sleep to good sleep. From seeing themselves as possibly a hopeless case when it comes to sleep, to transforming into a sleep expert and someone who has the confidence to know they will sleep well every night.
I have created a free webinar which you can watch if you'd like to learn more about what makes my sleep training for adults with insomnia so effective and how you can take a few simple steps to fix your sleep problems once and for all.
Click on the above link when you're ready to watch (the webinar runs every 15 minutes), or you can register and you'll be sent a link to the replay to watch at your convenience.
Happy watching, and remember, it's your birthright to sleep well and EVERYONE can learn to sleep well again. If you don't believe me, watch the webinar and I will explain why as well as how!