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How to stop worrying and fall asleep

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How to stop worrying and fall asleep

Do you have that problem after a long busy day where you've been running to meetings, reacting to emails, checking to do lists feeling tense in case you forget something? Then by the time you finish and get home, you're mentally exhausted, physically tired and you need to get to bed to start another early day tomorrow?

Then when your head hits the pillow it starts; the worry, the analysis and suddenly your brain decides that it is a a good idea to catastrophise about everything. What if I don't meet that deadline? Will I keep my job and why did I say that, what will they think of me, and so it goes on.

So, why does stress, anxiety and worry keep you awake? In this blog, we’ll explore a process, that will help you switch off your busy mind so you can sleep more easily.

How to stop worrying and fall asleep video

Learn how you can stop your night time worrying and get to sleep.

Why does your mind wake up at bedtime?

One of the reasons could be that there are some habits or routines that are keeping your mind active rather than allowing you to relax into sleepiness. For example, some clients tell me about their preparation for sleep, which involves merely brushing their teeth or turning off the TV and then they just expect to fall asleep and are surprised when it’s difficult. So it’s important to have good sleep hygiene establishing a relaxing bedtime routine that helps your wind down and relax at least 30 minutes before bed which helps you turn on those sleep hormones like melatonin. So this means turning off the TV, laptop and phone to help quieten your mind and body.

Your mind is so receptive to associations and when we do things at bedtime or in the bedroom which are associated with staying awake, you teach yourself inadvertently to stay awake! So, it’s essential to break any associations that you have to keep your mind active and awake so you can build new associations with the more restful and relaxing process of going to bed.

Why do you start worrying at bedtime?

When you worry as you try to get to sleep, it’s often because daily life is so busy, your mind takes on so many different things from work, family and even friends that it can be difficult to find enough time for yourself and so the only time you get to think things over and make plans is that quietest time you have to yourself – bedtime.

Now of course worry does serve a vital function! It’s part of what helped us survive as a species and today it makes sure we’re up and out the door in the morning, prevents accidents and things going wrong. And when we’re able to worry in a constructive way and rational way, we come up with solutions and move on.

How do you stop worry and rumination at night?

To calm your mind at bedtime, you need to find yourself some productive worry time during the day. Allow at least 20 minutes to release any worries or concerns, so you can think about your own priorities in a positive and proactive way.

Think of it as self-care, give yourself some downtime for productive worry. It allows you to think in a solution focused way, creating a plan which halts the spiral of negative thoughts at bedtime. Find a time that works each day, (not before bedtime) and schedule it in your diary. When you address your worries in the day, it means your brain will be less likely to worry and dwell on things at night time. And doing it consistently will build a healthy habit that works well. Here’s how to do it:

4 steps for productive worry time

1. Write down your worries or concerns

When you write down your thoughts on paper, it’s much harder work than simply thinking them, so your worries are more likely to lose their power and begin to feel more manageable.

2. Sort through your worry list

Separate the solvable and unsolvable worries. Which can you action? And this is important – because many of the things we worry about will never happen. So in this step go through your list circle or highlight the worries that you can act on.

3. Start thinking of solutions

If the worry is solvable or you can take action, start thinking about the steps you can take towards a solution. Make a list of all the possible solutions you can think of. Try not to get too hung up on finding the perfect solution. Focus on the things you have the power to change, rather than the circumstances or realities beyond your control. Once you have some solutions, ask yourself what’s the next small step you would take towards solving one of them? It’s not about solving everything at the same time, it’s the first action or step that will help greatly.

4. Acceptance

If you can’t solve a problem right now, it’s about acceptance, you don’t have control over everything. You can make the choice not to act; just the process of making that decision not to take action still allows you to answer that worry by understanding why you can’t take action now. So it’s important to do this in your daily routine too. Accepting things as they are gives us a sense of peace and calm. When you acknowledge that you have no control over a problem, acceptance will help you stop that worry and feel lighter.

Now you have some time to be solution focused about your worries, the other important part of your bedtime routine is all about learning to shift your focus. It’s important because what you focus on you get more of. Like many of my clients, so often they would be thinking how much they would be awake all night, focusing on the problem, not on the solution.

Our subconscious mind hears everything we tell it, every thought. So when you think about staying awake, the unconscious mind take it as a command and helps to do more of it! Because your focus is on what you don’t want rather than what you do want – a negative feedback loop!

It’s like saying – don’t think of a pink elephant! You’re already thinking about it before putting it into your mind, so you need to think of what you want in positive terms – I get to sleep easily, I will drift of to sleep, I want to sleep deeply. Think of what you actually want and formulate into a small sentence – as you do, visualise it and feel it happening.

Bring these positive words to mind as you head to bed, have a clear picture in your mind and repeat them to yourself a few times intentionally before going to bed.

How does hypnotherapy help sleep problems?

If you’re struggling with sleep, then Hypnotherapy is a great option for you because sessions can help you reduce your general levels of anxiety and calm your thoughts at night, as well as changing your thought patterns so that you’re not trapped in that cycle of negative thinking or worry. Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is a type of 'talking therapy' combining the use of psychotherapy with hypnosis. It’s a positive and enjoyable process which helps overcome the underlying anxiety or habits which may be contributing to sleeping problems and insomnia.                                                     

Start by getting in touch to book a free initial chat so that we can explore your situation and decide if hypnotherapy will be right for you and what your personalised treatment plan might look like.


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Andrew Major Hypnotherapy

Andrew Major is a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist and Mindset Specialist. His therapeutic approach combines psychotherapy and clinical hypnotherapy techniques, based on the latest research from neuroscience. Through one to one sessions, workshops and talks, he helps clients overcome the symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression which may have been holding them back, so they can lead more fulfilling lives and careers.


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