Welcome Sleep Fears to Overcome Insomnia
The Survival Response
Your survival response is your body’s way of preparing itself for danger by readying you to either stand and fight or run in flight. Whilst such a response is great if you’re being attacked by a predator, it’s not helpful if you are trying to sleep.
Unfortunately when you struggle against sleeplessness, this response can unhelpfully become associated with the act of sleeping, which explains the racing mind, rush of adrenaline, knotted stomach or feelings of anxiety whenever you go to bed or wake in the night.
Learning to Welcome the Unwelcome
Learning to welcome your insomnia and all of its known associates is a powerful way of untangling yourself from worrisome thoughts and strong emotional reactions, and a vital part of retraining your brain to sleep. Only by choosing to accept your sleeplessness in the moment, will your brain finally realise that it needn’t be on red alert and that it is safe to sleep once more.
Welcoming Your Unwelcome Thoughts
Your thinking brain is a 24 hour thinking machine designed to use your past experience to try to predict what could potentially go wrong in the future in order to promote your survival. If you’ve struggled with sleep in the past, you will have created a sleeplessness library from which it generates worry about how you might not sleep tonight or how it could affect every aspect of your life.
Whilst this can be very frustrating and a contributor to most peoples continued sleeplessness, it is important to recognize that your thinking mind is just doing its job. How you choose to relate to such thoughts determines your response to them and in the long term determines the overall power they have over you and your ability to sleep.
Welcoming your thoughts is not to get rid of them or change their content, but rather to untangle yourself from them. By no longer fearing them, they show up less, wake you up less and your sleep quality improves.
Welcoming Your Unwelcome Emotional Reactions
Like your thinking mind, your body is also a 24 hour feeling machine designed to ready you for action. Any sense of danger results in a series of chemical reactions causing your heart to race, breathing to quicken and ultimately put you on red alert to ensure your safety. The knot in your stomach occurs as blood is shunted away from your digestive system to the meet the needs of your muscles and brain.
The physical nature of such emotional reactions can feel overwhelming, especially in the middle of the night, which explains why you struggle so hard to get rid of them. Sadly, like your thoughts, the harder you fight, the stronger and more conditioned they become.
Getting in the habit of describing your emotional reactions either out loud or in your head, can be a helpful way of untangling yourself from them. Recognising that you can’t control them, but you CAN control how you respond to them is a powerful insight and the key to lessening their strength and getting back to good quality regular sleep.
Choosing to welcome your insomnia is not naturally intuitive and certainly requires a level willingness. It is also a gentle and compassionate process that takes time and commitment to implement. However for those willing to welcome their insomnia overtime it offers the arrival of good quality natural sleep on a regular basis.
Wishing you the best of sleep,