Stress Mastery: Overcoming Bad Sleep Habits

by Doc Orman, M.D.

smurf sleepingIs not sleeping well making you feel blue?  This week I’ve been discussing how stress can disturb your sleep and how not sleeping well can increase your stress.  If you missed either of those first two posts, here are the links:

How Stress Can Disturb Your Sleep

How Not Sleeping Well Can Increase Your Stress

Sleep Habits

Today, I want to talk about bad sleep habits.

Bad sleep habits are actually quite common.  This is because when you find yourself not sleeping well, your natural tendency is to become anxious about this.  You’ll want to take action to fix this problem as quickly as possible.  After all, nobody likes feeling exhausted or otherwise out of sorts when deprived of sleep.

Unfortunately, some of the things you might try to do to help restore your normal sleep pattern won’t work.  Even worse, they may aggravate sleep problem even more.  And if you repeat them long enough, these behaviors can become habits that can make your sleep problems to last longer than they should.

Examples Of Bad Sleep Habits

Here are a couple examples of bad sleep habits:

  • Staying in your bed when you are unable to sleep — If you get into bed and are having trouble getting to sleep, don’t stay there for an extended period of time.  Get out of your bed and do something else or try to fall asleep somewhere else.  If you stay in bed when you can’t get to sleep, you’ll be training your body to have negative associations with your bed and sleep.  You certainly don’t want this.
  • Trying to actively will yourself to sleep — Don’t try to actively force yourself to sleep.  This usually doesn’t work, and it will only make you feel frustrated and anxious.
  • Overthinking and overworrying — Don’t indulge in “overthinking” or “overworrying” about your problems or responsibilities once you get into bed.  If your mind starts racing with these types of thoughts, get out of bed and go do this somewhere else. Or better yet, write down all your worries and concerns on paper or on your computer.  Then, only return to bed when your mind is totally empty.

Anxiety Is Never Conducive To Good Sleep

These are only a few of the bad sleep habits than can make it more difficult for you to return to normal sleep.  Most of these bad habits arise from heightened anxiety about not being able sleep well.

Anxiety of any kind makes it much more difficult to go to sleep.  When you are anxious, your body becomes stimulated, which is the opposite of what it needs to  drift off to sleep.

Being anxious about not being able to sleep also works against you.  This is because the more you struggle to sleep and fail, the more your anxiety will rise.  This will just make your goal of getting to sleep much more difficult to achieve

Sleep Well Again PDF E-Book

If you want to learn more about how to avoid bad sleep habits and other common sleep problems, I recommend you download the digital (PDF) version of my book Sleep Well Again, and read it completely.  This book is short and very easy to read and understand.  It will give you a good orientation to many key sleep principles and coping strategies.

Just click this link to get your own copy right now.

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