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How To Know If You Have Insomnia

If you’re here, you’re probably struggling with sleep and you’re frustrated.

The first thing I want you to know is that you’re not alone and I’m so glad you’re here!

I help women like you realize you don’t have to live with this.

You can learn to sleep better. I know, because I did it after years of struggling through my nights and feeling hopeless and alone about it.

When you’re ready, subscribe to my weekly newsletter to learn more about my 8-week program, just for women over 40, Permission to Sleep™

In the meantime, how do you know if you have run of the mill trouble sleeping, chronic insomnia or a more complex sleep disorder?

Before we go on, this is a good place for my disclaimer:

Always seek medical advice. I’m a sleep coach, not a doctor, so this post isn’t intended to provide medical advice. I don’t diagnose or advise about treatment for more severe sleep disorders that have chronic insomnia as a symptom – sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, various mental health disorders like severe anxiety, depression or PTSD, and more rarely, circadian rhythm disorders that make it hard for someone to fall asleep and stay asleep on a typical bedtime schedule.

With that out of the way, let’s get back to how I can help you.

It’s reassuring to know that almost every human has trouble sleeping, or a restless night or two, every once in a while.

So let’s start there.

As a human, you are complex animal and, if you’re like most women, your brain is busier than your body sometimes wants to be. This can lead to stress, worry and yes, sleepless nights.

Sleeplessness and insomnia can show up as trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, waking up too early or even just not feeling rested, even after having what you think is a “good sleep”.

Most of the time, these sleepless nights (acute insomnia) resolve and you sleep normally again after a few nights, or maybe even a few weeks.

But your problem is considered chronic insomnia if you have trouble sleeping three or more nights per week, and you’ve been struggling with it for more than three months. Importantly, you will also feel like your insomnia causes daytime stress, fatigue, or mood issues and interferes with your day to day life.

Because the amount of sleep you require might be different from someone else, how you feel about your sleeplessness is an important piece of the insomnia puzzle. If you get six and a half hours per night, and feel good about it, wake up just before your alarm, and don’t feel moody or sleepy during the day, you probably don’t have insomnia. It’s likely that 6 and a half hours is the amount of sleep your brain and body needs. So don’t compare yourself to someone who regularly sleeps for eight hours and wonder if you have insomnia because you read a book that said everyone needs eight to be healthy.

In fact, you might be an otherwise good sleeper until the simple act of worrying about how much sleep you’re getting triggers insomnia!

Knowing it can be normal doesn’t mean you just have to live with insomnia. But by the time you’re struggling and frustrated with daytime sleepiness or mood changes, you’ve probably also built up habits and negative sleep thoughts to try to manage it, without realizing those are the very things that are making your insomnia worse.

Most insomnia is a result of learned behaviour, negative thoughts and beliefs, and bandaid external solutions and quick fixes that you’ve piled one on top of another to control what’s really happening inside you.

Insomnia recovery is an inside job. And I believe it’s one of the ultimate forms of self-care.

In Permission to Sleep™, we work on what you think about it, and how you feel about it before we get to what you can do about it.

Starting with the concept of giving yourself permission to sleep.

You do not have to earn your sleep.

You can sleep whether everyone around you is taken care of or not. I’ll bet your partner does, right?

You can sleep when they’re sleeping or even when they’re not. The “sleep when your baby sleeps” advice, in my opinion, sets most moms up for a lifetime of believing we have to fight sleep as long as there’s a chance someone might need us.

There’s a season for that in your life – when they’re infants. But then you carry that belief into your mid-life years, when there’s no longer a need to be on high alert for a hungry baby every few hours.

And the result is you’re simply not taking care of yourself and are showing up in the world tired, moody and less effective at pretty much everything you want to do.

I want to help you re-learn to sleep when you’re sleepy.

It’s that simple and you deserve your sleep as much as everyone else in your family does.

If you’ve been struggling with insomnia, and agree it’s time to unlearn the thoughts and habits that got you here, please click below to book a free 30-minute session. I’ll give you some immediate sleep suggestions and you can learn more about whether my program is for you.

Until then, I wish you good nights and good rest.

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