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Promoting Healthier Sleep

Do you respond emotionally to your thoughts?

Do you use language, such as 'bad night', 'terrible sleeper' 'never sleep well' or 'always tired'. Imagine this... you have a young child and every day you tell them they are a terrible sleeper, have never slept well and won't cope with the tiredness. What do you think would happen? Would they be a great sleeper or an anxious, poor sleeper? This is the power of our minds. What we think can be dictated by how we feel. CBT is about recognising that emotions, thoughts, physical reactions are all separate responses that guide our behaviour. Retraining our brain involves awareness of these elements, so we can ensure our responses and behaviour nourish us and are positively expressed.

Your mind is a garden

Here is an analogy I find useful not just for sleep but for any type of unwanted feeling or behaviour. Your mind is like a garden and your thoughts are the seeds. Whatever you plant is going to grow so be careful about what you plant! If you tell yourself every day that you are a terrible sleeper & that you will never cope then this is what you are teaching your brain to believe and then this is how you will feel.

Reframe your thoughts

Instead of thinking about what your plans for the next day are and associating sleep with negative thoughts, be more


A current thought:

"I can't cope"

A possible new thought:

"Even though I am often shattered, I always get through the day/get to work/look after my children. I actually am an expert at coping with sleep loss" Can you see this is not about being unrealistic or overly positive, but rather changing the quality and content of your thoughts, so they help you rather than hinder you.

Taking the First Step

Start just by noticing what type of thoughts you have. How often do you think about sleep and how often is it negative? Start to write these thoughts down. How does this type of thinking make you feel and how does it help or hinder you?

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