The 7 Mindfulness attitudes applied to insomnia
Jul 16, 2021
In these turbulent times that we have had to live it is easy to experience difficulties in sleep. The threat system is activated in us, and this has an effect on all our day-to-day activities.
Thus, I am going to propose what I think can be an application of the seven attitudes of Mindfulness (or Mindfulness) to the field of sleep.
- Related article: "What is Mindfulness? The 7 answers to your questions "
Mindfulness attitudes applied to insomnia problems
These attitudes are the ones that guide the work in therapy and that have an extraordinary reach in the face of difficulties to sleep well.
1. Not judge
Faced with the natural tendency to automatically label everything that happens to us in life in terms of pleasant-unpleasant-neutral, The Mindfulness proposal consists of approaching reality as it is, trying not to tag as often as we do.
Thus, at bedtime, we can be attentive to what is happening without "knowing" from the beginning that we are going to have a difficult night. Taking a step back and observing how we find ourselves without judgment can lead us towards metacognitive transformation.
- You may be interested in: "Insomnia: what is its impact on our health"
In general, changes do not usually come quickly, both people and processes have a slower pace than we would like... It is usually very interesting to be attentive to see if impatience comes to visit us, it is usually a company that generates a lot restlessness. As Vaclav Havel said, it is useless to pull a developing tree upwards to make it grow faster. Patience reduces anxiety and brings us closer to sleep.
3. Beginner's mind
What if we went to bed paying attention to the different sensations as if it were the first time we did it? There are Mindfulness practices that suggest that we pay attention to the sensations produced when putting on the pajamas, to the physical sensations when we get into bed such as the temperature, the touch of the sheets, the sounds ...
Focusing on these aspects can ensure that we are not predisposed to the nightly "fight" with the bed. There are people who see it as a "battlefield"!
When sleep difficulties have been present for a long time or when we have not slept for a long time, it is common to believe that "I have something broken in my brain". The Mindfulness-based therapy proposal consists of re-trusting my sleep regulation system, and increasing the knowledge of the physiology of sleep.
5. Do not strain
When you've seen 2:00 on the alarm clock and then 3:00 and then 4:00, you are unlikely to have positive thoughts. The most common thought you often have is "I have to sleep, I HAVE TO SLEEP", and this actually complicates it even more.
The idea that tends to permeate is that the dream is something that should arise spontaneously and our purpose should be to try to create the conditions for this to happen. Thus, inducing states of calm, concentration, Mindfulness is the most effective way for the shy Morpheus to appear and not run away.
In this ambit the word acceptance has a brutal reach. The fact of not accepting our sleep rhythm leads us to be dissatisfied, and insomnia is a 24-hour problem.
I propose two situations for you to think of different consequences: what if you only slept 4 hours but you think you slept 8? Would you be in a better mood during the day?
Another situation, called paradoxical insomnia: and if you had slept 7 hours but you thought that you had been awake most of the night... How would you face the day?
Being unhappy with what has happened (whether it is true or not) leads us to be stuck and upset. It is important that accepting does not mean giving up, is more like knowing that efforts to control sleep generally don't work and therefore making consistent decisions.
7. Let go
In this last attitude you can decide that you could let go. I make these proposals: preconceptions about sleep, stress, expectations, to think that the day will come when we sleep 8 hours in a row, the worries related to sleeping... and many others!
I can imagine your skepticism when reading these attitudes; They may sound far away, but in people who have started a process of change, they are more and more real. In therapeutic work we combine behavioral techniques to improve sleep habits, with Mindfulness and meditation work, and these attitudes are like beacons that guide much of the work. If you have sleep problems, we will be happy to help you! Also online.