Getting good sleep shouldn't be a luxury, but more of a requirement for a good life. Sleep deprivation can exacerbate existing health issues, decrease memory, attention, and mood regulation, and also increase risk for cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions, such as diabetes. Therefore, missing out on a sleep is not just an inconsequential action. There are serious health implications with missing out on sleep.
If you are looking to improve your sleep, however, it is. aprocess. You cannot have practiced bad sleep your entire life and expect to sleep like a baby tonight after reading this article. Good habits lead to good sleep, and habits take some time to develop. Honestly, they take so long, that it may be easy to give up on them before you're even able to see the results.
In order to see the benefits of sleep, you must change your mindset regarding sleep. It's almost like a diet. With crash diets that are painful and miserable, the failure rate is very high. However, when changing your mindset regarding food and activity, you are creating better food habits which are sustainable and easier to adhere to.
Same with sleep. Having a different attitude towards sleep and looking at building lifelong long healthy habits will help to turn your sleep around for good. Here are ways to change your mindset regarding sleep.
Change Your Sleep Attitude
When it comes to sleep, many of us view sleep as a luxury. If we happen to get it, great, if not, oh well. Unfortunately, sleep is more than a luxury. It's a requirement for optimal functioning. Without sleep, many of your biological processes - such as healing, immunity, anti inflammatory, memory, learning, and overall restoration - cannot take place.
Therefore, in order to get good sleep, you first have to change your attitude about it. Sleep is a priority that should be a non-negotiable in your schedule. Sleep also doesn't have to be a battle. If you normally have trouble sleeping, there can be a lot of anxiety and negative thoughts around the evening. Changing your attitude to one of "I can and will get good sleep" will go a long way in helping you actually get a good night's rest.
Mindset truly is important when trying to build a habit. If you go into thinking that sleep is very hard for you, or that if you can just get a couple of solid nights then that will change your whole perception of sleep, you will probably set yourself up for failure.
You have to approach sleep with a very methodical mindset that has your long-term goals in mind. Are you chronically sleep deprived? Do you have health concerns that could potentially be alleviated with sufficient sleep? Keep these ideas at the forefront of your mind as you approach sleep.
Also, if sleep is hard, then it's important to control any anxiety or frustration. Understand that decades of bad sleep habits are not going to correct over night. It's a process, and if you just remain patient, you can figure it out.
Reset Each Night
To help maintain a positive mindset, you have to be okay with thinking of each night as a new night. It's easy to carry anxiety from the previous night into the next one. However, all that will do is further exacerbate the problem.
If you have a bad night of sleep, remind yourself that it is an isolated event. That doesn't mean that you have to give up on your sleep efforts. Reflect over what you did right before bed or any stressors that happened during the day that could have contributed to your sleep disturbances.
For the next night, make any necessary adjustments, keep calm, and sleep on.
As you lie in bed, frustrated over your inability to go to sleep, you may be dreading the next day. The anxiety of how tired and bad you will feel and function is enough to keep you awake even longer.
However, science does not support the fact that a couple of bad nights of sleep are enough to make you feel significantly worse than getting a good night's rest. Knowing a little more about the science can help to alleviate those fears and thoughts that contribute further to anxiety.
If you are overly concerned about the consequences of a poor night's sleep, or the consequences of your day's actions on your ability to get sleep, do some research to see if those ideas are supported. Is there any data or any studies to back up what you are worried about? If not, then take comfort in knowing that your body is more resilient and tougher than you may imagine.
Manage Your Thoughts
The brain controls the body. Your thoughts are more powerful than you may think. It's important to understand that if you think about good sleep, then you can get good sleep. However, if you ruminate over bad sleep, then inevitably, you will probably have bad sleep.
Taking control over your thoughts, and working with them will be a very powerful way to overcome sleep problems. If you can identify why you think the way you do, then maybe you can get to the root of the problem and really do something about it.
Use meditation to focus on the positive and remove negative thoughts. Affirmations, journaling, and even reading are some other relaxation techniques that you can use to remove any negative thoughts interrupting your day. You have a lot of control over your thoughts, and when you begin to recognize that, you can really take agency over your sleep quality.
If you are having significant trouble sleeping, and these techniques offer little, to no support, please click the orange button below to talk to a sleep expert as the problem may be deeper than anxiety or bad sleep habits.