If this is true, then how can one effectively move away from sleepless nights?
Have you ever thought or said to yourself, “I’m bone tired, so why can’t I get to sleep?” Those who have difficulty getting to sleep know that the reason they can’t sleep is not because their body is up and running around.
Sometimes it is because of what some call their monkey mind. Many of the practices that are described in our Sounder Sleep sessions address the issue of monkey mindedness. Numerous people have found those practices to be very useful in getting to sleep or returning to sleep. The practices are, use the body to calm and to quiet the mind which allows sleep to come naturally and easily.
However, there may be some occasions in which the mind is not necessarily focused on a specific issue or even flitting here and there as a bee or butterfly flying from one blossom to another. I once had a client who was almost perpetually tired and exhausted.
Her experience was that she would go to bed and drift off to sleep. However, she would awaken after an hour to hour-and-a-half and would be wide awake and would be awake for an extended period of time. When asked what she did during that time, she replied, “I say to myself, ‘I have to get back to sleep. I know I can’t, but I have to get back to sleep.” It doesn’t take much imagination to recognize that those words increased anxiety and the more she said them and the more intensely she expressed those thoughts, the more anxious she would become. The levels of stress hormones would increase dramatically. The “fight, flight, or freeze” response took over. As the degree of danger increases the ability to relax and allow sleep to come decreases. What helped her was to change that internal dialogue. She learned to say to herself, “Wow! I’ve been asleep for an hour and it seems like only ten minutes. I wonder how much sleep I can get in the next hour-and-a-half.”
Einstein has been credited with having said, in part, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” In Neuro-Linguistic Programming, we can help clients develop their imaginary control center. In that control center there are switches, levers and buttons that manage many physical and mental systems. And the use of imagination can impact no only sleep but other significant challenges. I know of people who “go inside” and turn up the metabolism rate while they sleep. A result is fewer blankets in the winter and for some it’s an effective assist to weight loss programs. One client who had undergone a heart transplant but sometimes felt as if the heart was not his was able to lower the degree of rejection and immunosuppression drugs by “going inside and having all his organs thank the heart for the great work it was doing and by imagining a large plaque on his heart that read “Jerry’s Heart.”
There is incredible power in internal dialogue. What you say to yourself matters. Even if changing internal dialogue does not help you get back to sleep, having positive and hope filled thoughts is much more enjoyable than having negative anxiety producing thoughts.