Due to Laura’s very tight schedule, she allocates her time vigilantly.
Nine months ago, Laura agreed to take on a critical case, and although her schedule was already at full capacity, she thought she could manage it. This case meant that she was now stepping up and moving into a league with the top lawyers in her field. Laura really wanted this case, even though it meant working much harder. She had to be super focused, strategize, and memorize all the small details.
At one point, a month into this work, she felt like she was already reaching her limit. She decided she needed to work harder, be even more focused. She needed to win!
But Laura’s schedule was already beyond full capacity.
Laura decided to sleep less. She could function even if she slept an hour or an hour and a half less per night.
In the beginning, it worked. With the help of many cups of coffee, Laura was able to function.
But every night, when she thought about going to bed, she started panicking.
On the one hand, she wanted to thrive on only 5.5 hours of sleep; on the other hand, she wasn’t able to fall asleep quickly. Her brain was working so hard, it felt as if she couldn’t switch it off.
She started to notice that the panicky feeling she had before bedtime was appearing earlier in the day. At one point, this feeling was there all the time, grabbing hold of her and refusing to let her go.
Her performance wasn’t at its best. Laura, who was always very aware of the small details, was forgetting some vital information.
Always a highly practical person, Laura thought she needed to shake off those panicky thoughts and ask her doctor for sleep medicine. She told herself that she would take the meds until the trial ended and then stop using them.
When Laura ingested the meds, she didn’t have any of those panicky thoughts. She fell straight to sleep. But then, in the morning, she felt terrible–foggy and groggy and oh-so tired. Laura tried the meds for a few more nights; she thought she just needed to get used to them. But every morning, she woke up with the same bad feelings. Now her mind was busy panicking about the shitty feeling she’d have in the morning.
So she stopped taking the meds, and the panicky feeling about her sleep returned.
Laura was trapped in an endless cycle of anxiety. It started from sleep anxiety, and now it seemed like it was taking over her entire life.
Her sleep deteriorated, her performance at work declined. She was annoyed by the tiniest things. She felt like she was constantly on edge.
Miri works with clients locally from her office in Vancouver, BC and with clients worldwide from the comfort of their homes.What Can You Do to Improve Your Sleep and Manage Sleep Anxiety?What We Did to Improve Laura’s Sleep and Life
When I met Laura, she announced that she had no time to mess around. She wanted to be able to “switch off her brain” so she could sleep. She was extremely irritable.
Laura and I looked at Laura’s lifestyle and obligations and made some adjustments to Laura’s habits during the day to allow her to be more efficient and reduce stress.
We started with tiny and manageable actions like light exposure in the morning and an easy nighttime routine.
We also equipped Laura with some practical tools to help her focus during the day – so she could do her work effectively and reduce stress over the things she wasn’t able to complete.
Using hypnosis, self-hypnosis and hypnotic tools, Laura learned how to shift her stressful state and feel more at ease.
Laura also learned how to view things differently and reframe her thoughts and feelings to focus both on work and on what is important for her in life rather than on her anxious feelings and thoughts.
As a result of our work, Laura improved the quality of her 5.5 hours of sleep, felt more rested during the day, and managed her anxious feelings.
Laura is waiting for the trial to end so she can get back to her regular 7 hours of sleep, where she knows she can wake up alert and refreshed.
What Is Sleep Anxiety?
Sleep anxiety is a fear of or worries about going to sleep. The fear or worries are intense enough to affect your daily life, activities and well-being.
Individuals who suffer from sleep anxiety feel excessive worries or fear when they think about sleep, and even more so as bedtime approaches.
Physical symptoms include stomach ache, nausea, sweatings, chills, and breathing problems.
Sleep anxiety can affect your sleep quality as well as your physical and mental health; It can also affect your personal and professional life.
Sleep deprivation can worsen anxiety and make the anxiety more pronounced.
What Can You Do to Improve Your Sleep and Manage Sleep Anxiety?
- Sleep anxiety can look different in different individuals.
Pay attention to your thoughts during the day, before bedtime and right as you get into bed. Notice if your thoughts are preventing you from falling asleep.
- Sleep is a physiological process. Not an on/off switch.
It takes 12-20 minutes, on average, to fall asleep.
- Set expectations around sleep.
If you want to fall asleep faster, you need to train (or re-train) your brain to fall asleep fast and with ease.
- Nighttime Routine.
Create a nighttime routine to signal your brain that it is time to slow down, so you can fall asleep faster.
Please note that the story and information above are not medical advice, nor should they be taken or applied as a replacement for medical advice.
Miri works with clients locally from her office in Vancouver, BC and with clients worldwide from the comfort of their homes.