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  • Can’t Sleep? One Reason You’re Not Sleeping

    This is not medical advice. Please see a qualified medical professional.

    “I was up all night thinking about that meeting.”

    “I woke up at 1:34 am and was up the rest of the night.”

    “It takes me forever to fall asleep–and I don’t want to take a sleep aid.”

    Sound familiar? More than 30 percent of Americans report having sleeping problems. Lack of sleep can make for a long day.

    One reason you may struggle to sleep is that you’re feeling anxious. 

    Of course, the night before your wedding may be sleepless. The first weeks of bringing home baby will likely be fraught with sleepless hours, too. Seasons of transition include anxiety–most often, it’s the “good” kind of anxiety.

    Positive changes naturally include the anxiety of meeting the unknown–however exciting and welcome it may be. The anxiety may feel like excitement (and keep you awake).

    But the troublesome kind of anxiety that keeps you up at night is rumination–continual worrying about the same problem. It’s catastrophic thoughts, black-and-white thinking, and thought errors.

    One idea to combat sleeplessness is to get up and do a grounding exercise such as 54321. This technique involves using the five senses to tell your brain you are safe to relax.

    Another idea is to get ahead of the sleeplessness by writing a Worry Jounral entry during the day. After setting a timer for a short period of time, you write about what is causing you to worry. When the timer goes off, you stop.

    In addition, research shows that making a to-do list right before going to bed helps you to sleep. A list of what you have already complete doesn’t help much–write a specific list of what is on the to-do list.

    If sleeplessness is causing problems for you at work, at home, or with your relationships, seek a counselor who can assess for anxiety and other causes of sleeplessness.