If you’re having trouble sleeping, you know how much it can impact your life, energy, mood, focus and happiness. There’s nothing worse than lying in bed at night, wide-awake, unable to sleep, then feeling exhausted the next day.
I’m sure you also know that good sleep isn’t a luxury – it’s a necessity. You’ve probably tried several things to help your sleep, but found they didn’t work that well, or not at all.
So what’s gotten in the way?
Let me guess…
- You’ve looked but haven’t yet found what will give you the quality of sleep you desire.
- You can’t control your anxiety or mind at night after getting into bed.
- You feel that maybe you’ve lost the ability to sleep (or sleep well).
- You feel it would take too much time and effort to learn and do what’s necessary to get a good night’s sleep, every night.
Part of the problem is there are widespread misconceptions about sleep that many people accept as true. And if you believe one or more of these, it can actually lead to poor sleep and make it difficult to overcome.
In my experience, I’ve found that four major myths are to blame for not being able to get ongoing, restful sleep.
I’m going to debunk those myths for you, and show you how to replace them with truly effective practices that will not only reward your efforts, but also have you feeling confident in your ability to sleep well, night after night.
Myth #1: To get good sleep consistently, you can just apply a few tips you found online and wing it.
If this were true, there wouldn’t be millions of people struggling with sleep. You can find some good sleep tips online (and some bad ones), but to sleep well for the long term you need to do some very specific things. Just like getting into good physical shape (and maintaining it) requires more than following a few simple tips, so does obtaining a lifetime of restful and healthy sleep.
Getting a good night’s rest requires doing several things that allow your body to do what it’s naturally built for: sleeping deeply and soundly, every night.
A truly effective and healthy approach to sleep involves 6 key components (the right mindset, effective sleep behaviors, positive sleep thoughts, ability to relax, healthy daily consumption, and key lifestyle factors) all of which must become a regular part of your daily life.
Specifically, my complete sleep plan includes specific sleep behaviors, how to stop anxiety and worry from keeping you up, stress reduction strategies, ways to regulate your internal sleep clock, guides for daily consumption, and so much more.
And when these become a natural part of your life you begin to sleep without effort, deeply and restfully, each and every night.
Myth #2: Good sleep requires sleeping pills, herbal remedies or external aids.
Everything you need for good sleep is already inside you. It’s just a matter of knowing how to get out of your own way to let sleep happen.
Life brings stress, anxiety, and other challenges that interfere with sleep. We also might consume things, engage in activities or practice certain behaviors that further disrupt our sleep. We may not even know we’re doing it!
But sleeping pills, herbal remedies and other external aids (like alcohol and over-the-counter sleep meds) either won’t help your sleep at all, or will make it worse.
There are many reasons why these methods are ineffective (and unnecessary). Sleeping pills, for instance, can impede the deeper, restorative stages of sleep, leaving you tired during the day. They can also have serious side effects, and you can become addicted psychologically and physically.
The good news is that you don’t need any external (and potentially harmful) remedies to get a restful night’s sleep. Once you address the factors that interfere with sleep (anxiety, worry, poor sleep behaviors, lifestyle factors, etc.), good sleep comes naturally.
Myth #3: Sleep will come when I’m relaxed.
Being relaxed is one requirement for sleep. If you’re tense and wound up, it’s impossible to sleep. But even if you’re relaxed as a kitten it doesn’t mean you’ll drift into slumber.
The reason for this is there are two other requirements for sleep: tiredness and being ready for sleep.
Our sleep works on a clock called a circadian rhythm (circadian means “about a day”). When our sleep cycle is operating normally and healthfully, our bodies will fall asleep naturally at around the same time each day and wake up around the same time each morning (needless to say most people’s sleep cycles are not running optimally).
Your body will sleep when it’s ready. It has to. It needs sleep for survival. What happens is that many of us try to force sleep or expect it to come when we want it or when it’s our “bedtime.”
Just as your body will tell you when it’s hungry, it will tell you when it needs sleep. Many people lose touch with this innate signal because they (unknowingly) interfere with it by doing some of the things mentioned above.
So learning what to do, and not do, to reset your sleep cycle and being in touch with your body’s signals are the way to get back to a strong, consistent and healthy sleep pattern.
Hint: It’s not enough to just do a few disconnected things to ensure good sleep, like staying off your computer at night, avoiding spicy foods, or meditating. There are very SPECIFIC things you must do, and not do, to ensure good sleep now and for the future. (Click here to download my freebie and discover exactly what to do to start resetting your mind and body for ongoing healthy and restful sleep.)
Myth #4: You have little control over your sleep.
In one sense this is true, as you can’t will yourself to sleep. If you’re thoroughly rested, alert and in the brightness of day, it’s almost impossible to make yourself sleep – just like you can’t make yourself hungry if you’ve just consumed a large meal.
But if you know exactly what to do (and NOT do) to work with your body’s natural sleep process, you can gain control over your sleep and be confident you’ll get a good night’s sleep every night, consistently.
There’s a famous quote from philosopher Francis Bacon: “Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.” If we apply that to your body: “Your sleep system, to be controlled, must be obeyed.”
In other words, if you understand how sleep works, and what behaviors and beliefs support or inhibit it, you will be able to control your sleep and confidently know that it will come each and every night.
Keep reading . . . now that you know the 4 sleep myths, I’ve created a DETAILED, free cheat sheet to help you with your sleep . . .
My wish for you is to stop doing what isn’t working when it comes to your sleep, and instead learn an effective sleep approach that you can use the rest of your life.
As a clinical psychologist, I’ve spent the last several years specializing in helping people overcome sleep problems. I also experienced a serious sleep issue myself, which led me to study and learn the most effective methods for overcoming it. You don’t have to figure this out on your own – you can learn from my experience! I’ve compiled a list of 5 of the biggest sleep mistakes people make and how to avoid them. Click here now to get that list!