November 25, 2020

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Sleep: BBC teaches you nine skills to overcome insomnia and anxiety

5 min read
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Everyone knows the importance of sleep and rest. However, every day, countless people all over the world suffer from the pain and suffering of insomnia.

Not sleeping well will not only affect people’s memory, mood, work and study status, etc., but also cause short-term and long-term effects and harm to health.

A recent study in the UK found that good sleep can also reduce people’s risk of heart attack and stroke.

BBC reporter Simon Mundie interviewed Guy Meadows, a British sleep expert. Guy is the founder of The Sleep School. He has helped many athletes get rid of the nightmare of insomnia.

Gay explained his method of treating insomnia: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). This method is mainly to allow people to accept the fact of insomnia, rather than to fight.

He said that this treatment is very effective, not only can deal with insomnia, but also help to reduce all kinds of anxiety in life.

Why sleep is so important

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Gay said that sleep is definitely one of the most natural and powerful functions for the body to maintain its own health. If you want to be energetic and perform well the next day, you need plenty of sleep.

In this way, you can concentrate, have a good memory, and be creative and motivated.

In addition, sleep also plays an important role in maintaining weight, because sleep controls our appetite hormones.

In fact, our short-term and long-term health and all performance depend on the quality of sleep.

Now that we know that sleep is so important, it may also cause great stress, especially when sleeping well.

Take athletes as an example. Before important competitions, athletes should maintain a relaxed state and sleep well.

But the facts are often the opposite. Some athletes can’t fall asleep over and over because they worry about their competitive performance the next day.

Acceptance and commitment therapy

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Different from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy improves sleep by changing people’s relationship with insomnia and symptom associations: for example, thoughts, fear, and anxiety caused by loss of brain control and many more.

Cognitive behavioral therapy seeks to suppress these negative thoughts. But Guy encourages those who use acceptance and commitment therapy not to suppress their insomnia concerns. It’s better to embrace instead of being depressed.

Gay said that the advantage of this is that you can disarm. In other words, when you go to bed every day, it is no longer like going to the battlefield, like facing an enemy.

ACT weakens the inability to sleep, thoughts, and fear, making it less terrifying, and finally putting people into sleep.

Guy summed up the following tips to ensure good sleep and control anxiety:

Change the way of thinking

Try to change the way of thinking. Don’t always think: I can’t sleep tonight, and tomorrow will be sad.

Tell yourself that you know the possibility that a bad sleep tonight will adversely affect tomorrow. Then, don’t think about it anymore, don’t get stuck in it.

Accept the fact that you can’t sleep

Guy said that the more people struggle to sleep, the more they cannot fall asleep. This is one of the biggest problems with insomnia.

Therefore, Guy told the patients who came to see the doctor: Accept the fact that he can’t sleep in the middle of the night.

Slowly, there will be sleepiness.

Learn to relax

It must feel bad to not sleep, but learn to relax.

Gay said that instead of letting himself struggle on the cusp of worries, it is better to watch the changes quietly and relaxedly.

Negative and positive

For example, Guy said that if you are going to make an important speech or statement tomorrow, you may become anxious and therefore cannot sleep well.

Tell yourself that this kind of worry is normal, just try to welcome and cherish it instead of trying to drive it away.

Try to be regular

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The best way is to maintain a regular bedtime and wake-up time. this point is very important.

Some people go to bed early because they are worried about insomnia; at the same time, some people postpone going to bed because they are afraid of not falling asleep.

Both of these are not good, it may also cause a kind of “sleep jet lag.” The best way is to maintain a regular bedtime and wake-up time. this point is very important.

Practice mindfulness

Guy recommends that people choose a quiet place, such as on a park bench, quietly practice mindfulness, and feel everything around you: for example, the breeze on your face, the wood under you, and feel your breath.

Mindfulness helps to sleep at night and expel negative emotions.

Think about what is most important to you

Gay said that many people with insomnia have even stopped their normal life in order to sleep well. They no longer associate with friends and dare not catch morning flights.

Guy advises against this. He advises people to live a normal life and focus on the things that are more important to them, even if they don’t sleep well.

In this way, you will no longer hate insomnia. The advantage of this is that you reduce the struggle and increase the chance of a good night’s sleep.

No caffeine drinks in the afternoon

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Gay believes that many people have a wrong understanding of coffee beverages. Caffeine can stay in the body for a long time.

If you drink coffee at 12 noon, half of the caffeine in your body will not be digested by 6 o’clock in the evening, and at 12 o’clock in the middle of the night, there will be a quarter left.

Therefore, Guy recommends that if you want to drink coffee, drink it as early as possible to avoid affecting sleep.

Stay in bed

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Gay said: “If you wake up in the middle of the night, the most important thing is actually to rest in bed.” “Don’t check your phone: the blue light on your phone will immediately activate the photosensitive cells in your eyes, wake you up, and inhibit sleep-helpful melatonin.”

But if needed, you can go to the toilet. But after returning to the bed, change the position and continue to sleep.

Remember, rest is good for you, please stay where you are and don’t go anywhere!

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