If you find it hard to sleep, you can get into the habit of worrying that you won’t be able to sleep which makes it even harder to relax. And getting a poor night’s sleep can make it even harder to cope with the problems which may be fueling negative thoughts.
Having negative thoughts, such as: ‘I am never going to get to sleep’, ‘How am I going to pay my bills?’ and ‘What if I lose my job?’ can affect how we feel, which might be: tense, agitated, frustrated, or panicked. These thoughts and feelings can trigger a physical response. You might experience some unpleasant physical symptoms that can include: a heart beating faster, dry mouth or muscles tensing.
Our thoughts and feelings can also affect how we behave. We could become restless or toss and turn in bed. We might turn on our TV or look at our phone. This can make us even more anxious and less likely to sleep and the cycle continues.
Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet & comfortable. Create a sleep routine, so your body knows it’s time to sleep. Keep your thoughts as positive as you can. Keeping a sleep diary can be a big help in understanding your sleeping habits and identify any thinking or behaviors which may be affecting how you sleep. Write down the answers to the following questions every morning for no more than two weeks.
· How did you sleep?
· What time did you go to bed & how long did it take you to fall asleep?
· What were you thinking or worrying about when you were trying to fall asleep?
· How many times did you wake up during the night and how long did it take you to go back to sleep each time?
· What time did you wake up and what time did you actually get out of bed?
· What did you eat/drink four hours before going to bed?
· Did you take any naps during the day?
· What did you do in the hour before going to bed? Read, work, use your phone, watch TV?