Overcoming occasional insomnia

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Life ToolsWho doesn’t like a nice night’s sleep? Almost everyone, right? Unfortunately, having a restful night’s sleep can be a challenge for many people from time to time. In this episode, we discuss why people don’t sleep well and offer an exercise that can support you in getting a good night’s rest.

This tool is one part of the Seishindo Stress Management program. After a brief introduction, the podcast will play the verbal guidance (no music) of the exercise, and then Charlie gives a debrief about why this program is effect and different from other programs. To learn more about the premium version of this program which contains the music and the downloadable files, please click the button below:

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Theory about how thinking can get in the way of sleeping:

  • Most of the time when people are having trouble sleeping they are thinking about situations that they are not confident about, and they might even be thinking of things that frighten them, or for instance they might be dwelling on a relationship that is not going well.
  • Regardless of what you think about you wind up making pictures in your mind’s eye about what you are thinking about. Usually, when people are having trouble sleeping they are thinking about a task or relationship that they do not feel at ease about. Needless to say when you do such thinking you will not feel like sleeping because the images you make will rile you up instead of calming you down.
  • Sometimes we will be thinking about a task we want to complete. If you are engaged in problem solving, you will not feel like sleeping.
  • Whatever your are thinking about will lead you to have physical reactions that match what you are thinking about. So once again, when wanting to sleep, if you are thinking about anything that is not soothing you will be having physical sensations that lead your system to be activated, rather than calming yourself.
  • When you think about something you are afraid of or really worried about, you will release various hormones into your system. If you are thinking about a challenging situation that you are not at all confident about you will likely release some cortisol into your system which will give you a sense of “fight or flight”. Once again not a great thing to be doing when wanting to sleep.
  • The more you try and stop yourself from thinking the more thoughts you will tend to generate. So one of the worst strategies for attempting to calm your thinking mind is trying to stop yourself from thinking.

Debrief (after listening to the exercise):

  1. How does this exercise work? What makes this tool effective is that you actively engage yourself in slowing down. You are proactive in doing what will help you to sleep. The more you pay attention to your breathing and keep a steady rhythm going, the less you will think about what has been keeping you awake.
  2. Can this exercise be used for anything other than insomnia? For example, taking a short nap or just regaining energy. Yes, this exercise can be used whenever you want to slow down, and slowing down can be a great way to regain your energy. The process of stepping out of your everyday thinking mind is what’s important here. That, and the fact that you will be taking in more oxygen than usual, which will prepare your system for new activities.
  3. What’s the importance of pausing for a second or two after both the inhale and the exhale? Why not just breath in and out like we normally do? Pausing for a second or two on your inhale and exhale will wind up giving you the sense of having enough time to do what is necessary. Similar to pausing a second before responding to a question. When you pause while staying calm, you give yourself the opportunity to respond from a place of greater confidence.

This is one part of the Seishindo Stress Management program. More information can be found here. The Before Sleeping exercise can be found at: http://seishindo.org/product/sleep-and-insomnia/.

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