In this series of three posts, I’m exploring the 3 Fs of Sleep – Fear, Frustration and Failure.
This powerful trinity work together to disturb your nights and drive away sleep.
In the first post, I explored how bedtime can become dread time and suggested an exercise for you to try.
Today, I’m turning to the second element in the trinity: Frustration.
If you see yourself as a competent professional, running your own business or leading a team, you’re used to identifying and implementing solutions. You’re not easily flummoxed and if you are, you know where to go for support. If at first you don’t hit on a result, you try something else.
So how is it then, with sleep, something that’s supposed to come naturally, you’re at a loss?
You’ve done the research, you do all the right things. You even went to the gym at lunch for goodness sake! But as you lie there awake and the hours tick by, it just isn’t working for you.
That’s how Frustration starts and then builds to a crescendo of What on earth’s wrong with me?
There’s nothing wrong with you. Every night, many people are experiencing similar levels of frustration and helplessness. It’s estimated that 10% of the population across the world suffer from insomnia. I know however, that this raw statistic doesn’t help because at night, when you can’t sleep, it feels a very lonely place.
How would it be if instead of Frustration, you tried Acceptance? If, instead of berating yourself for not getting it (sleep) right, you applied a little Patience? If, instead of seeing lack of sleep as an enemy to be defeated through sheer force of will, you adopted a longer term game?
In this way, you can accept that you don’t sleep well at the moment (whether that’s been the pattern over the past few weeks or years is immaterial). You can acknowledge that you need to be patient with yourself in finding a solution and that this solution will need time to work.
Instead of a nightly battle, your quest to sleep well becomes a strategic campaign.
This campaign needs not only to address caffeine, alcohol, exercise and powering down the mind. It needs tactics to re-establish a positive association between bed and sleep, retraining the body and mind to feel sleepy at the appropriate time. (I talk about this in Part 1).
Once you’ve stopped feeling frustrated with yourself, you can accept that you need to properly attend to your sleeping problems. Patience is important – after all you’ve probably had problems sleeping for a few weeks, if not a lot longer. It’s unrealistic to expect to turn it around in just a few days. That said, the majority of my clients see huge improvements in their sleep after just 3 weeks.
To summarise: there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s just that you are approaching your sleeping problem from the wrong perspective and without the proper resources. Sort that and your professional competence and personal determination will do the rest.
To read Part 1 of this series click here
I’d love your feedback so do post your comments below.