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  • This topic has 10 replies, 8 voices, and was last updated 1 month ago by Profile PhotoHope.
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    Hope
    Participant

    I have a very hard time falling asleep and staying asleep. I think it’s because of anxiety and stress and it’s really affecting the quality of my life. Does anyone have any recommendations or advice about what I can do please?

    Dear Hope,

    When we have a lot going on in our lives, sleep can be very hard to come by. Yet, at the same time, without proper sleep everything else is magnified. So back to the question you asked, how you can try to fall asleep and stay asleep?

    I am wondering what you have tried and what has and has not worked for you?

    The first thing that I’ll ask a client struggling with sleep is, what time do you wake up and what time do you go to sleep? Having a consistent bed time and wake time helps train our bodies when to sleep and when to wake up.

    My next question is when it is time to go to sleep, what do you do to show your body that it is sleep time? In the book, <span style=”text-decoration: underline;”>Atomic Habits,</span> James Clear shares that we learn by cues. You can create cues for your body to go to sleep. What actions are you doing to cue your body that it is bedtime? What pre- bed routine can you set up?

    Exercising during the day can help with sleep, as well as avoiding screens for an hour before bed. Using your bed only for sleep is another technique that helps some people.

    The above are all good ideas, but you mentioned anxiety and stress. When our minds are racing, our bodies will have a harder time relaxing and falling asleep. I like to share deep breathing exercises with my clients. Deep breathing will help the body relax as well as imagery to fill the mind with calming thoughts . What my clients have found is that there is less room for the clutter when they are focusing on the breathing.

    I am happy to connect if you would like to explore further.

    Happy Sleeping,

    Devora Malka Goldstein MS Ed

    ADHD/ EF Life Coach

    Profile Photo
    Hope
    Participant
    Topic Author

    Thank you for your response and suggestions.

    Profile Photo
    chaniemonoker
    Participant

    In addition to Devora Malka Goldstein’s great suggestions, try counting your blessings instead of counting sheep or worrying about what you should have done or need to do.

     

    Best,

    Chanie Monoker

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    millerjb
    Participant

    I watch something on my computer until I fall asleep and on Shabbos I read. During that time I focus on my breathing and that seems to relax me. My problem is I never seem to wake up refreshed and have an extremely hard time getting out of bed in the morning.

    Hope this helps

    Jodi

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    Malka Katzenstein
    Participant

    Hi Hope,

    So many people have trouble sleeping and it can really have an impact on our daily lives. Devorah Malka Goldstein gave some really good suggestions. I have a few more ideas to share:

    Avoiding caffeine late in the day can help, as can avoiding or limiting alcohol in the evening. Drinking alcohol may make you feel sleepy, but it is actually a stimulant, which would affect the quality of your sleep and can wake you up in the middle of the night.

    Keeping your blood sugar stable throughout the day is important for many reasons, including good sleep. Try to eat every 3-4 hours, making sure that each meal and snack contain healthy fat and protein, and limiting sugar- especially at night. There are also supplements that help with sleep and general anxiety.

    Many sleep experts recommend keeping your bedroom on the cooler side. Create a calm and relaxing environment in your bedroom.  You can try calming essential oils such as lavender, chamomile, bergamot. You can inhale them, sprinkle them on your pillow, or use a diffuser. I love diffusers because it makes the whole room smell like a spa!

    Meditating is a great way to calm and relax the brain; it’s helpful any time of the day, but you can make it part of your bedtime routine and see if that helps. As Devorah Malka Goldstein mentioned, getting in movement during the day is very helpful- sometimes sleep difficulties are a  result of pent-up energy in the body. Exercise in general is good for anxiety and relieving stress, especially yoga because it has a calming effect on the brain.

    You can try any of the suggestions that are posted, but if your stress and anxiety are affecting your quality of life, you may want to think about therapy- it’s a great tool that is available to you.

    Good luck!

     

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    mlove
    Participant

    @Hope, I understand you and used to go through the same thing. Lately I’ve been very tired so I just fall asleep right away. But when I do have a hard time sleeping, it’s very stressful for me to think about how tired I will be the next day. So instead, I just accept. And accept the fact that right now I’m having a hard time sleeping but I’m perfectly safe. I found that when I stress about my little sleep it gets me overwhelmed and can’t fall asleep. I feel for you and I’m sending love

    You might be experiencing insomnia.  It is common and occurs for many reasons.  One hour before bedtime, do something quieting such as listening to calm music, reading a book, meditating, taking a short walk, stay away from electronics and food.  Sit in a chair or lay in bed and intentionally think about pleasant experiences.  Notice how can feel more relaxed.  Tell yourself that it is ok to sleep fully through the night and wake up refreshed.  Allow yourself to have images of sleeping peacefully.  Practice daily.

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    Hope
    Participant
    Topic Author

    Thank you all for your suggestions! These are great and I’m looking forward to trying them. 🙂

    Hi Hope,

    Not being able to sleep at night is upsetting and difficult, and can really affect your quality of life. It can also start a vicious cycle, where you don’t sleep enough, and then become really tired, and then take lots of coffee to stay up, which means your next sleep maybe affected as well. Not fun at all.

    There have been some great behavioral suggestions that can really make a difference in the sleep quality of your life. If you find these changes do not do all that you wish, I suggest something more internal.

    Very often, when we can’t sleep, there is a part of us that wishes to stay awake. Perhaps that part is frightened of what will happen when you sleep. Perhaps that part needs to be vigilant, to protect you. There are so many different reasons why a part might want you not to sleep, and I suggest you check in with that part and ask it what it needs to feel more safe at night. Checking in with parts is a big and highly helpful topic, so if you’d like to read more about this, I suggest you check out books and writings by Richard Schwartz (IFS – No Bad Parts) and Bonnie Weiss. Bonnie Weiss and Jay Earley also have online free resources to help people work with their parts.

    Wishing you some good hours of rest and easy sleep,

     

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    Hope
    Participant
    Topic Author

    Thank you Zipa Leah. I’m going to try doing that.

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