How Celia improved her sleep by abandoning all attempts to control her sleep and accepting and acknowledging anxious thoughts rather than trying to fight or avoid them (#29)

From a very young age, Celia would often try to control her sleep and often used medication to get her through her frequent bouts of insomnia. After the birth of her son and the emergence of the COVID pandemic, Celia became even more fixated on sleep. All of her old sleep crutches seemed to stop working and she didn’t know what to do.

Celia recognized that it was her desire to control sleep and her sleep-related thoughts that was a big part of the problem. When she was able to accept that she couldn’t directly control sleep or her thoughts and committed to implementing behaviors that would create better conditions for sleep and help her live life according to her values, she was able to starve her insomnia of the oxygen it craved and enjoy the life (and sleep) that she wanted.

How Chad improved his sleep by undoing all the changes he had made in response to his insomnia (#28)

Chad experienced some sleepless nights during a stressful period at work but his sleep started to get back on track — until one completely sleepless night created an avalanche of anxiety and insomnia. Fortunately, Chad discovered that it was his obsession with sleep and the changes he had made in response to difficult nights that were giving insomnia the oxygen it needed to survive.

So, he started to undo all those changes. By abandoning all efforts to create or control sleep and by living his life according to his values, regardless of how he slept, Chad was able to shift attention away from sleep, create better conditions for sleep to happen, and put his insomnia behind him.

How Pat got rid of her insomnia by embracing a philosophy of “fake it until you make it” and accepting anxious thoughts (#27)

Pat decided to approach each day pretending that she’d had a good night of sleep. She went about her days as normal and pursued enjoyable and enriching daytime activities, independently of how she slept. She also stopped talking about insomnia.

Pat shifted her attention away from sleep and refused to allow sleep to control her life. She also stopped all attempts to control anxious thoughts and instead, chose to acknowledge and accept them. The final piece of the puzzle came when Pat was able to abandon all attempts to control her progress and was able to accept that sleep is something that cannot be controlled.

As Pat discovered, if we can place less importance on sleep and refuse to allow sleep to control our lives, sleep often becomes a whole lot easier!

How Hannah got her sleep back to normal after COVID by caring less about sleep while creating better conditions for sleep (#26)

Like many of us, Hannah began experiencing sleep disruption during the COVID pandemic. When it became clear that lockdowns were likely to be extended, Hannah started to find it harder to fall asleep. Before long, she also found it hard to stay asleep, too.

In this episode, Hannah talks about the new sleep habits she developed and how she changed her relationship with sleep-related thoughts, and tested the sleep-related beliefs that made sleep more difficult.

Ultimately, Hannah found that abandoning all attempts to control sleep, accepting difficult nights of sleep and sleep-related worry, committing to new sleep habits, and going about her days as normally as possible really helped her get her sleep back on track.

How Susie stopped sleep from controlling her life, regained trust in her natural ability to sleep, and learned to love her bedroom (#25)

Susie never had a great relationship with sleep — but dealing with her insomnia wasn’t something that was high on her list of priorities. That all changed, however, when Susie went overseas and her sleeping pills seemed to suddenly stop working. Quite understandably, Susie’s anxiety skyrocketed and she ended up cutting her vacation short and returning home.

In this episode, Susie talks about the changes she made to create significantly better conditions for sleep. She also discusses the challenges she faced as she implemented these changes, and describes the ups and downs she experienced along the way. Today, Susie loves her bedroom, loves sleep, and is confident in her natural ability to sleep.

How Michelle got to the root cause of her insomnia and improved her sleep after 15 years of unhelpful experiments, research, and sleep efforts (#24)

Michelle spent 15 years researching sleep and trying lots of different things to get rid of her insomnia. She did all she could to control her sleep but all that happened was sleep (or a lack of it) ended up controlling her as it slowly became an obsession and took a hugely influential role in her life.

In this episode, Michelle shares the techniques she found most helpful, talks about the short-term difficulties she experienced when changing her sleep habits, and shares how she ended up modifying two core behavioral techniques — sleep restriction and stimulus control — to better suit her while also abandoning all efforts to control sleep.

How Jennifer got through setbacks and relapses while implementing techniques that transformed her sleep after 25 years of insomnia (#23)

Jennifer’s insomnia was deeply entrenched. After working with me for four weeks, she felt as though it was becoming more difficult to get through the day, her sleep had not improved, and she was understandably feeling discouraged. However, Jennifer kept going and four weeks later she was happier with her progress. She was experiencing less daytime fatigue and getting more sleep but she was still finding it hard to fall back to sleep when she woke during the night.

In this episode, Jennifer shares how she coped with setbacks by focussing on the process rather than progress and tells us about the moment she realized that she knew exactly how to respond to sleep disruption and understood that she was now armed with life-long skills that would enable her to enjoy better sleep for the rest of her life.

How Jessica transformed her relationship with sleep by challenging her sleep-related thoughts and changing her sleep-related behaviors (#22)

When Jessica moved back to her hometown with her husband and two children she began to struggle with sleep. When nothing she tried seemed to work, she started to believe that she’d lost the ability to sleep and was losing hope — until she learned more about how insomnia develops and realized that her insomnia wasn’t unique or unusual.

When Jessica recognized many of the common thoughts and behaviors that perpetuate sleep disruption in her own experience with insomnia, she started to feel a sense of hope. This allowed her to start exploring and challenging her beliefs about sleep while implementing behaviors that build sleep drive, strengthen the body clock, and reduce sleep-related worry and anxiety. Today, Jessica rarely thinks about sleep and it no longer controls her life.

How health-conscious Anafer shed her identity as an insomniac and now focuses on her career, relationships, and personal happiness rather than sleep (#21)

Anafer believed that she was born with insomnia. Sleep was a problem for her for as long as she could remember. After years of doing her own research, speaking with health professionals, and taking various supplements and prescription pills, Anafer’s insomnia was becoming unbearable.

After graduating from college, Anafer decided she needed to address her sleep issues before starting her career in dietetics. Two years ago, she came across my online coaching course and is now here to share her transformation and the ups and downs she experienced on her journey to better sleep and restored sleep confidence.

A conversation about sleeping pills with Dr. Wallace B. Mendelson (#20)

Dr. Mendelson is a psychiatrist, sleep doctor, and author who works primarily in the field of sleep research and sleep medicine. He is perhaps best known for his research related to the properties of sleeping pills and the effect of medication on sleep.

In this episode, Dr. Mendelson describes the evolution of sleeping pills, explains how they work, and shares information on their potential side-effects. We also talk about over-the-counter pills and supplements, and the evidence-based alternative to sleeping pills and recommended first-line treatment for chronic insomnia — cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I).