In these turbulent times we had to live it is easy to have difficulty sleeping. The threat system is activated in us and it affects all of our daily activities.
For that, I am going to offer you what I believe to be an application of the seven attitudes of Mindfulness (or Mindfulness) to the field of sleep..
Mindfulness Attitudes Applied to Insomnia Problems
These attitudes guide the work in therapy and have an extraordinary impact on difficulties in sleeping well.
1. Don’t judge
Given the natural tendency to automatically label everything that happens to us in life in terms of pleasant-unpleasant-neutral, the proposition of Mindfulness is to bring us closer to reality as it is, trying not to tag as often as we do.
So, while sleeping, we can pay attention to what is going on without “knowing” from the start that we are going to have a difficult night. Taking a step back and observing how we find ourselves without judging can lead us to a metacognitive transformation.
Usually, changes don’t usually come quickly, both people and processes have a slower pace than we would like… It is usually very interesting to pay attention to see if impatience comes to visit us, it is usually a business that generates a lot of worry. As Vaclav Havel said, you don’t need to pull up a developing tree to make it grow faster. Patience reduces anxiety and brings us closer to sleep.
3. The beginner’s mind
What if we went to bed paying attention to the different sensations as if it was the first time we were doing it? There are mindfulness practices that suggest paying attention to the sensations produced when we put on our pajamas, to the physical sensations when we lie down such as the temperature, the touch of the sheets, the sounds …
Focusing on these aspects can ensure that we are not predisposed to fighting in bed every night. There are people who see it as a “battlefield”!
When sleep disturbances have been present for a long time or when we have been sleepless for a long time, it is common to believe that “I have something broken in my brain”. The proposition of mindfulness-based therapy is to trust my sleep regulation system and increase my knowledge of sleep physiology.
5. Don’t make any effort
When you have seen 2:00 a.m. when you wake up, then 3:00 a.m. and then 4:00 a.m., you are unlikely to be having any positive thoughts. The most common thought that is usually sent out is “I must sleep, I must sleep”, and this complicates matters even more.
The idea that usually creeps in is that sleep is something that must happen spontaneously and our goal must be to try to create the conditions for that to happen. Thus, inducing states of calm, concentration, full attention is the most effective way for the timid Morpheus to appear and not run away.
In this area the word acceptance has a brutal meaning. Not accepting our sleep pattern causes us to be dissatisfied because insomnia is a 24 hour problem.
I offer you two situations to think about different consequences: what if you only slept 4 hours but thought you slept 8? Would you be in a better mood during the day?
Another situation, called paradoxical insomnia: what if you had slept for 7 hours but thought you were up most of the night… How would you cope during the day?
Being dissatisfied 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 upit’s more like knowing that efforts to control sleep don’t usually work and therefore making congruent decisions.
7. Let go
In the latter attitude, you can decide to let go. I make these proposals to you: preconceptions about sleep, anxieties, expectations, to think that the day will come when we will sleep 8 hours in a row, the worries related to sleep … and many others!
I imagine your skepticism on reading these attitudes; they may seem distant, but in people who have started a process of change, they are more and more real. In the therapeutic work we combine behavioral techniques for the improvement of sleep habits, with a work of mindfulness and meditation, and these attitudes are like beacons that guide much of the work. If you are having trouble sleeping, we’ll be happy to help! Also online.