Dr Neil Stanley Independent Sleep Expert
© Dr. Neil Stanley 2013-2020
Sleep ‘Crutches’ Many of us are troubled by negative thoughts and beliefs about getting to sleep, the quality of our sleep, or the negative consequences of poor sleep to our health and well-being. The problem is that these thoughts can actually increase the chances of having poor sleep. This is particularly true when we reinforce our thoughts by checking the time when we are awake during the night to sleep. We get frustrated because we haven’t fallen asleep within a certain number of minutes thus adding to the problem of calming our mind before sleep. If we wake in the night or the early morning calculate we how many hours we have left to sleep and how quickly we need to fall asleep in order to achieve it, thus increasing the anxiety about not sleeping. One of the biggest self-fulfilling prophecies in sleep is the belief that you wake at a particular time each night. The more importance you give to this fact, i.e. “I always wake up at the same time every night and can't get back to sleep”, the more likely it is that you actually condition yourself to wake up at this time. The best thing you can do at night in this case is not to look at the clock, keep your eyes closed and get the sleep you need. Remember you cannot fall asleep with your eyes open. Another variation of this is the thought that you cannot sleep well without something, e.g. a special pillow, a particular night time beverage, etc., this can lead to this thing becoming a sleep ‘crutch’ whereby you if that thing is not taken available you worry so much about not sleeping that you end up not sleeping. Don’t worry about not sleeping go to bed each night with the expectation that you are going to sleep well