Sleep & Health – Good Sleep Anywhere
Trying to cure insomnia on your own is a challenge. Many people who try do not know how to do it and are quickly discouraged.
In my experience, it helps you to ask yourself the right questions first because it allows you to focus on the essentials. It enables you to observe aspects of your life that are critical to your healing journey and that you might otherwise overlook.
What questions should you ask yourself about self-healing insomnia?
There is a specific series of questions that usually provide a lot of helpful information:
- What Are You Looking For When You Cure Insomnia?
- What have you tried so far to cure insomnia?
- How did it work
- What did it cost you
Let’s dive into each of the questions.
Question 1: What Are You Looking For In The Insomnia Cure?
Most people who begin treatment to cure insomnia have the same goal: to make the pain associated with insomnia go away.
That makes sense. Nobody wants to be in pain. And so your problem-solving mindset provides a simple solution: To make you feel better, the pain needs to be eliminated. They think, “I feel better when my insomnia is gone.”
Many culturally imparted rules contribute to this type of problem-solving program when painful, undesirable internal experiences arise. We all grow up with advice like “Negative feelings are unhealthy” or “To be healthy, we need to control or eliminate negative feelings”.
Your mind insists that difficult emotions are the problem
This rationality is so common in our lives that we follow it even when painful emotions are appropriate to our life situation, e.g. the loss of a loved one. Grief is painful and your mind will insist that these emotions are the problem and need to be removed or controlled.
However, the truth is that following this type of avoidance strategy, in most cases, makes the problem worse. The desperate attempt to stop insomnia intensifies the things that often caused it: it makes difficult emotions more intense, memories more intrusive, disturbing thoughts more dominant, and uncomfortable physical sensations more penetrating.
But if holding on to trying to get rid of insomnia doesn’t work, then how do you approach self-healing insomnia? The answer is: start with the end in mind.
Why you have to start with the end
If I were to make a guess and answer the question of what the outcome of a successful insomnia cure will be for you, then it is likely that you will regain the energy to do all of the things that you enjoy doing.
In other words, you feel that insomnia is the reason you are unable to do the activities you love to do, and you cite lack of energy or motivation as the reason you not do the things you do want. So your goal is to control your sleep or get rid of your insomnia so you can get back to your normal daily routine.
This is a common posture most people with sleep problems take. The assumption is that insomnia and a negative internal state are reasons why desirable behaviors do not occur. Therefore, your primary goal is to get rid of the pain and feel better because then and only then can sleep come and you can lead the life you want.
I would like to invite you to start with the end and try to get what you are really looking for and then do it – even if your sleep is not yet perfect.
Start Living Your Life Now!
If you start to live your life slowly and do all the things that you have put on hold, you will not only live your life but also lessen your struggle with poor sleep. Because less struggle means less stress, less tossing and turning at night, less wasted energy and therefore more ability to return to your fulfilled life. And this in turn leads to the best conditions for the development of natural sleep.
To finally heal, you have to live your life anew. So I encourage you to live the life you want instead of losing it in an endless battle with insomnia. Here and now by answering the following question:
- What would your new life be like if you didn’t have to devote all of your energy to controlling your sleep?
- Would you spend more time with your partner or family?
- Are you starting a new career or your own business?
- Is it starting my own family?
- Do you want to go out with friends more often?
Whatever it is to you, it is crucial that you clarify it. So it is best to write down the things that come to mind. Write down everything you can think of, even if it may seem impossible at the moment.
Question 2: What did you try?
The next question is about the strategies you have used so far to cure insomnia. In essence, the question is, “If you want to improve your sleep, what have you tried to get this result?”
It might sound easy to answer this question, but the most important thing is that you don’t remain judgmental and accept whatever strategy you come up with and avoid suggesting other strategies that you may find useful. Instead, try to maintain an attitude of curiosity and interest about your own experiences rather than judging and giving advice to yourself.
Discover your avoidance strategies and rules
There are usually two main functional dimensions to consider that will later be important in choosing an effective approach: First, you want to know the prevalence of your avoidance strategies (e.g. getting out of bed to distract yourself). Second, you want to know what rules govern these strategies (for example, to cope with insomnia is to distract yourself).
In general, the more common the avoidance strategies are and the more these strategies are controlled by rules rather than direct experience, the more likely it is that you need to control, suppress, or avoid stressful private experiences. This can make it difficult for you to try an alternative approach.
Question 3: How did it work?
Now we come to the point where you put your strategies through their paces.
Most people with sleep problems have tried different strategies to end their insomnia. The question is: “Will the desired result – sleep better – actually be achieved, or is it still the same or even worse?”
This step is not easy because you need to get in touch with the direct results of your behavior and your problem-solving mind. The goal is to take a step back and distance yourself from your mind to become aware that you may be following the wrong path. You may not even know these rules exist, so you may think that there is no alternative.
Working ability of your problem-solving mind
It is important that you take your time on this feasibility issue. You are likely to begin to doubt whether the problem-solving mind agenda is workable. And trust me, your mind will not like this plan and will give you a lot of thought so you can stop. In this case, do not try to suppress these thoughts; just accept them and move on.
When you’ve spent enough time doing this, and only then, ask yourself the question, “Could it be that following the advice of your mind is the problem?”
Please note that this is not about gaining deep insights; it’s about getting in touch with the direct consequences of your behavior.
Question 4: What did it cost you?
The outcome you get from your sleep struggle often has more of an impact on your life than you might expect. In general, there is a cost involved in spending time and energy improving your sleep, which over time leads to an increasing limitation in life.
This is because your attempt to improve your sleep is also an attempt to gain control over undesirable, incriminating private content, which results in valuable life activities being sacrificed. Remember, however, avoidance creates avoidance. The more you avoid things, the more you get used to avoiding things.
The aim is to familiarize yourself with the costs of your helpful coping and control strategies in order to create the necessary motivation for change.
The cost of avoidance
The point is, the cost of avoidance is not always obvious to us. When we find ourselves in the midst of a highly avoidant way of life, we lose sight of how much our current way of life differs from our values and the possibilities of life.
The truth is that your pursuit of control over painful things is causing your sleep struggle. The more energy you use to stop your insomnia, the more dominant it becomes.
The goal of this self-interview, therefore, is to get you back in touch with the emotional costs of avoidance, including collateral damage, as the costs themselves begin to produce additional negative stuff that is also avoided.
It’s not about rubbing your nose over the consequences of avoiding it, however; It’s about helping you develop a healthy motivation to try something new: Approaching your insomnia self-healing process by accepting the way things are right now without trying to get rid of the insomnia. It is this accepting attitude that ends your struggle and ultimately puts you back on your way to a restful sleep.