Lots of coaching clients want to improve their sleep, and say they are fed up with waking in the night thinking about work, or that they’ve put up with it for so long that they think there is nothing they can do about it. Does this sound familiar? There is a way forwards!
In Career Coaching, I use the latest evidence based techniques to help my clients improve their wellbeing, career planning and leadership skills, based on ‘third wave’ cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) techniques and neuroscience, adapted for high functioning coaching clients.
Most of my coaching clients want to learn skills to enhance their wellbeing and improving sleep is often a part of this. I recommend that if you are having difficulty sleeping, and medical causes have been excluded or addressed, one part of the solution could be Dr Guy Meadows’ excellent and evidence based self help book ‘The Sleep Book- how to sleep well every night’, which outlines the approach he uses in his clinic ‘The Sleep School’ (http://thesleepschool.org/).
This approach is based on evidence based techniques to learn how to change our relationship with sleep related thoughts. Instead of fighting them or trying to stop them (the traditional ‘second wave’ CBT approach), we learn to notice these thoughts, welcome and thank our minds for them, and then choose to turn our attention away from the thought towards an anchor such as the breath or the body lying in the bed. It means learning how to take an observer perspective on our experience, and having some space from the stories our minds try to tell us ‘I’ll look terrible in the morning’, ‘I’ll never be able to sleep’, ‘what’s the matter with me?’.
By changing our relationship with our thoughts, we learn to stop struggling, which makes sleep much more likely to come and find us. I highly recommend the five week programme outlined in the book if you’re having difficulty sleeping as part of a wider approach to improving your wellbeing- and wish you well in your journey back to being a normal sleeper.
Next blog, I’ll be celebrating 25 years since my first experience of mindfulness. Sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guided practice which I’ve recorded as part of my Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy teacher training!