If you struggle to sleep, you’ve heard it all before: Hot bath, chamomile tea, reduce exposure to light, etc. But whatever you try, nothing seems to work.

Maybe it’s time for a whole different approach...

Below are examples of original triggers that can cause your sleep to suffer:

1. Life Stress — anxiety or fear
2. Medical Conditions — back pain or arthritis
3. Chemicals — excessive alcohol or caffeine
4. Hormones — pregnancy or menopause
5. Environmental — excessive noise , light, and temperature
6. Circadian Clock —sleep disturbance from jet lag or shift work

In response, people often try habits that are unhelpful and even harmful — counting sheep, irregular sleep timing, medication or alcohol.

But these actions don’t work in the long-term and cause a cycle of sleeplessness. Basically, your frustration with not sleeping grows so much you forget sleep is a natural process and should not require any conscious effort.

So what can you do?

Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) for Sleep

ACT is a psychological intervention that uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies. It has been proven by many studies to help those who struggle with sleep.

Using ACT, you need to:

1. Accept the things you cannot change.

2. Change the things you can.

3. Understand the difference.

Instead of fighting, accept the fact you struggle to sleep. The core method to this is mindfulness, allowing your thoughts to occur and observe the moment.

How to Use Mindfulness in the Bedroom

When lying awake, notice what is happening in your mind and your body, and make space for those thoughts.

1. Welcome your "unwelcome thoughts."
2.Describe what these thoughts are in a non-judgemental way — give them a name such as anxiety.
3.Visualise a space in your head for these thoughts to all sit, and observe them rather than fight them.

This teaches you that you can’t control what thoughts come up, but you can control how you respond to them.

>> Mindfulness is not designed to get you to sleep, it allows you to accept and observe your sleepless state, making space for natural sleep to follow.

One Final Thing to Remember:

Stay in bed while lying awake. Getting out can form a bad habit. Gently increase your willingness to experience wakefulness in order to accept the pre-sleep.

For more tips, check out this guide from On Stride: https://www.onstride.co.uk/blog/why-you-cant-sleep-and-what-to-do-about-it/

Author's Bio: 

Marilyn is a freelance writer and digital nomad currently living in rainy yet wonderful London. She writes (and reads!) about personal growth, productivity in the workplace, self improvement, and the importance of work/life balance and how to achieve it.