S3:E22 | Every night is a fresh start
One of the most important things I find myself regularly reminding people of is this - every night is a fresh start. It is a really important perspective to hold on to. I’m going to talk all about it in today’s episode.
Hello and welcome back to the Sleep Seekers Podcast, I’m your host, Emma Ashford.
As you probably realise by now, I love talking about sleep. I talk to my clients and the people I do training sessions with about sleep and anytime anyone finds out what I do I always end up talking about sleep with them too!! It’s one of those topics that tend to get people talking!
One of the themes that I find myself reminding people of a lot is this - every night is a fresh start.
How you sleep tonight is not determined by how you slept last night. So, if you slept badly last night, it absolutely does not mean you will sleep badly tonight.
But, what the delightful human brain likes to do is to create worries and anxieties that don’t need to be there and generally make things worse and more of a problem than they need to be.
So how this generally looks is this …
You might have a rubbish nights sleep for some reason. Maybe something on your mind, maybe hormones, maybe the weather or you being under the weather. There are many reasons that bad nights happen here and there and they are generally nothing to worry about.
But after a bad night you might have thoughts like
‘I really hope I sleep tonight’
‘What if it happens again tonight’
‘I’m going to struggle again tonight’
‘I’m not sleeping well at the moment’
‘I can’t sleep’
Some of these thoughts are really fatalistic but this is where the human brain can go really easily, often without us noticing.
Or, often with my insomnia clients the thoughts are based on invented patterns and assumptions because they are used to over analysing their sleep or just simply not getting enough of it.
Their thoughts are often things like:
‘I got a bit more sleep last night so tonight will be bad’
‘It will take me ages to get to sleep tonight because i had a lie in this morning’
‘Good nights are always followed by bad nights - that’s the pattern’
Now as convincing as these thoughts can be, they are just thoughts. Just because you have the thought, it does not make it true.
In truth, there is no biological reason why your sleep tonight would be affected by your sleep tonight. Every night is a fresh start.
If you do the things that support your body and mind towards good, natural sleep, there is no reason tonight can’t be better.
Where this goes wrong is when you believe those unhelpful thoughts I have been talking about and it creates expectation, or anxiety or overthinking or paranoia about your sleep.
This can so easily become a self fulfilling prophecy by the anxiety messing with the body chemistry which moves you further away from sleep rather than closer to it. This is how some stints of bad sleep are created - through the unhelpful thoughts and anxiety quickly taking over.
So my simple message today is this - remember that ever night is a fresh start.
So, if you happen to have a bad night or a bad couple of nights of sleep and you notice yourself having the thoughts I mentioned or similar, or you notice yourself expecting to sleep badly. Stop, ignore the thoughts and remind yourself that every night is a fresh start.
It is true that if you have a rubbish night or a row of rubbish nights it can impact the type of sleep you get - most often it means you might sleep really deeply when you do get a good night because your mind is prioritising the deep sleep because of your deficit.
But a rubbish night is not an indicator of whether you are able to sleep. What happened last night has no bearing on whether you sleep tonight, the fresh start rolls around every night - which I think is a really lovely thing to know.
It is also one of the reasons that I always say to my insomnia clients that it doesn’t matter how long they have had a sleep problem for - the only thing that matters is when they decide to get help and change it.
So, if you find yourself on the other side of a rubbish night or a run of rubbish nights - I will say it again - remind yourself that every night is a fresh start and tonight can be better.
Keep a guard on those thoughts and ignore any that try to tell you otherwise.
I would also encourage you to make sure you are supporting your body clock by keeping a reasonably normal schedule and going to bed at roughly the same time as you normally would.
And I would encourage you to strengthen your wind down time, make sure you are relaxing before bed and not doing anything that is stimulating to your mind or body. You can access my wind down course and the wind down journal here if you would like to use those to help you.
Ultimately, every night is a fresh start. There is lots you can do to help yourself to have good evening habits and set yourself up for good sleep in general but there is no need to think that last night has any bearing on tonight or any night after that.
I hope that is helpful. I think it is a lovely comforting thought for a lot of people - every night is a fresh start, a new opportunity for sleep to get back on track.
THAT'S ALL FOR TODAY. DON'T FORGET TO SUBSCRIBE IF YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS AN EPISODE. I WILL SEE YOU NEXT TIME ON THE SLEEP SEEKERS PODCAST AND UNTIL THEN, I WISH YOU GREAT SLEEP.
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