There is a lot of information on the internet about healthy sleeping habits, often referred to as ‘sleep hygiene’. The purpose of this blog is to give you, the reader, an informed insight into what may be attributing to your insomnia and how to address this directly.
I often have clients come into therapy with distorted sleep, however, they often never associate their sleep disturbances with anxiety or depression.
To help the client understand this link, I ask them to imagine their mind as an empty rotating washing machine drum. I then get them to list every thought, worry or idea they would expect to have in their mind at night and ask them to imagine each one of these cognitions as a small pebble. We discuss each cognition and visualize throwing the pebble into a turning washing machine drum (your mind). By the time we had thrown in each pebble, what would it sound like? Pretty noisy right? Would you expect to sleep through a washing machine full of pebbles?
Behaviors such as maintaining a regular bedtime, making the bedroom comfortable, not watching TV in bed etc., - all of these can be very helpful for helping people go to sleep. However, we still have the case of the noisy washing machine when the lights go off.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy teaches you how to look at each of these ‘pebbles’ and resolve and release them before bedtime, allowing you a more peaceful night sleep. It teaches you skills to resolve worries and anxieties before bedtime. We begin this skill through the use of automatic thought records.
The purpose of automatic thought records, as the name suggests, is to list and evaluate each negative automatic thought that goes through your mind. As we all have a minimum of 2000 thoughts passing through our mind each day which we don’t even realize. A problem arises when more of these thoughts are negative than positive, resulting in low mood or anxiety. Thus, by address and resolving negative thoughts pre-bedtime, can assist you in a better night sleep.
To begin enabling the skills that will help you return to a good night sleep, please request a callback today at www.jessicaleighcbt.com.
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