Eyes closed, but mind buzzing
The rhythm to sleeping
We all have a Circadian Rhythm – the internal 24-hour clock which plays a crucial role in when we fall asleep and wake-up.
Sometimes this rhythm becomes out of sync which can leave us struggling to get to sleep, or have us waking in the early hours with our mind in turmoil.
The good news is that our circadian rhythms are not fixed, and like a clock, it can be adjusted bringing a more consistent and healthy sleep pattern.
Sleeping problems are often the symptom of deeper causes and whilst these causes are usually mind related matters, they can on occasion be of a medical nature, so it is of the upmost importance that you consult your GP first to rule out any medical issues.
Sleeping difficulties are often linked to stress, worry and anxiety. Sometimes the stress, worry or anxiety is not evidently known or felt consciously, but when the mind tries to relax, the circadian rhythm becomes disrupted as the subconscious part of our mind seeks to deal with the underlying anxiety state. When this is the case, the broken sleeping patterns become the symptom, and by us addressing the cause, the symptom will frequently fade away.
Long-term sleeping problems can also be linked to depression, which again causes the circadian rhythm to become disrupted because of extended bouts of Rapid Eye Movement sleep (REM), whereby the subconscious mind is constantly busy producing longer than usual periods of dream sleep. Whilst dream sleep is vital to our mental health, it is not restorative sleep and when we have extended dream sleep, we can wake in the morning feeling utterly exhausted, regardless of how many hours sleep we have experienced.
Are you trying too hard?
It is often the case that all of the sleeping ‘aids’ we have tried, such as relaxation music, lavender oil, herbal drinks, ear plugs, masks etc. can make matters worse, simply because these ‘aids’ keep our minds well and truly focussed on the problem that we are a poor sleeper – in effect we are trying too hard to sleep. Sleep is a natural process and ‘trying’ to make it happen and all the worry about how we are not sleeping creates a vicious circle which well and truly breaks our Circadian Rhythm.
I am a full-time hypnotherapist, psychotherapist and counsellor who has been providing hypnotherapy, hypnosis, psychotherapy,CBT and counselling in Horsham and Crawley for over a decade