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Why Can't I Sleep?

These days, everyone and his dog seems to have a suggestion for improving your sleep. The reality is, however, when you have insomnia —chronic or long term difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep—even medical sleep specialists find it difficult to treat.

I found this out a decade ago when I'd recently fixed my own sleep issues and was just starting out on my helping-other-people-sleep journey. While in the US for my sleep coach training,  I made friends with a woman whose husband was a sleep specialist doctor. She told him about the training I was doing in The Sounder Sleep™. Her husband wanted to meet me.

We met for coffee in a little coffee shop in Salt Lake City. I was a little nervous to meet a medical expert on sleep when I was only just starting my training. But he was really interested in what I was learning, asking me lots of questions and nodding often. Then he said something that really surprised me. “If you’re able to fix people’s insomnia, you’ll have a huge amount of people willing to pay any amount of money for you to help them.” I was surprised not to hear that people might want to work with me, but to hear this from a medical sleep specialist. After all, wasn’t he supposed to be the expert helping people with their sleep?

A decade later, I’ve learned that insomnia is a little like migraines. Really common, and really hard to fix. And the specialist doctors who you’d think would be able to help you—well, that’s not really their specialty. If you have sleep apnea or narcolepsy or a circadian rhythm disorder, then they can probably help. But do you struggle to fall asleep? Do you wake up a few hours later and struggle to get back to sleep? Or do you wake up at 2 or 3 or 4 am for the day when you don’t have to? Well then, we can recommend a list of sleep hygiene tips. Or Cognitive Behavioural therapy for insomnia. Or you can try melatonin or sleeping pills. But if that doesn’t work, as it often doesn’t, you’re out of luck.

So you turn to other less mainstream offerings. You test out sleep hacks on the internet, meditation music on YouTube. Maybe you try hypnosis or acupuncture or naturopathy. And maybe it helps, a little. Or maybe it doesn't, and you start to think of yourself as hopeless case. Just not a good sleeper. . .

So why IS fixing your sleep so hard? After over a decade of working with 100s of people who have long term or chronic sleep problems, and successfully helping them to get good sleep again, here’s my answer:

  1. Sleep is far more than a simple biological process. Quality sleep requires us to be able to switch off and relax, which in our day and age is not easy to do.
  2. It is common for worry and stress patterns to develop around a stressful event, but then later the event goes away but the poor sleep doesn’t. Bed, bedtime and the topic of sleep become the subject of worry and stress. This reinforces the poor sleep and makes it harder to change.
  3. There are often environmental or behavioural factors which make it harder to sleep on top of the sleep stress. There can also be biological factors for example mental or physical health issues. However, I have found that these issues can be worked with very successfully as they are not the most important thing.
  4. The person trying to do the changing is very tired, and when we are tired we are more emotional and less able to focus or remember, so it can make consistent change over a long enough time even more difficult.
  5. Eventually we construct an identity as a poor sleeper and although is a lonely thing, it can be quite deep seated and make it difficult to believe that change is possible, and therefore we are less inclined to try.

Going back when you first started sleeping poorly, you may remember a particular event or time in your life that triggered your sleep problems. Often it is the birth of a child, relationship or work stresses, sometimes a health problem. Your sleep gets interrupted, and a new pattern of poor sleep is established.

Our bodies are very pattern-based, especially where the nervous system and automatic functions are concerned and as humans we generally do better when we have a rhythm to our day, especially where eating and sleeping is concerned. Once our good pattern is disturbed and a new poor pattern is set, this can be difficult to change.

An added difficulty is that many of us are not good at switching off. To put it very simply, sleep relies on us being able to switch dominance from our sympathetic (or flight and flight/active and aware) nervous system to allow our parasympathetic (or rest and digest) part of the nervous system to predominate. That is why stress can play such havoc with sleep: if we are unable to relax, we find it more difficult to switch to that sleep-ready space.

I’m grateful to have found a system and created a method that works really well for insomnia. I know that change IS possible as I see it regularly in my sleep coaching practice. Over and over again, I have seen how my 90 Day Sleep Transformation Program helps poor sleepers not only LEARN but IMPLEMENT relaxation skills and good sleep habits; sleep coaching with me also helps them to work with their own body, brain and life to reprogram and retrain and actually BECOME a good sleeper.

Over the course of 90 days, I step my clients through a program which helps them to relax, retrain their brain and body, construct a different sleep identity, and acquire the habits and skills that mean they ARE able to fall asleep and that they CAN trust themselves to be able to sleep well night after night.

As you can imagine, for someone with long-term sleep problems, sleeping well again is totally life changing! I feel privileged to be the person who helps make this happen. Of course YOU are the person who really makes it happens, but I’m your guide and support. I know the way and I know I can help you to get there, and that makes all the difference.

If you'd like to learn more about transforming your sleep, specifically what will work and what WON'T, I have created a free webinar just for you. 3 Mistakes to Avoid and 4 Steps You Must Take to Fix Your Sleep will take only an hour of your time, but it could be the first step toward you having good sleep for the rest of your life.

https://www.sleepeasyclub.com/pl/147215

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 not only why but how.

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