I consider myself to be a blessed sleeper.  Most nights, I fall asleep easily, only wake up a few times for a bathroom break, and wake up relatively refreshed.  This does not mean that I never struggle with insomnia.  I have had my nights of tossing and turning, or waking up in the middle of the night, unable to get back to sleep till it is time to wake up.  That is all part of normal sleep. 

If people are used to sleep aids, their perception of sleep changes.  They tend to think that normal sleep is a very deep, dreamless, almost comatose state.  That is just not true for most people.  Sleep is not the same as anesthesia. 

How can we manage our expectations of sleep?  The most important thing is how you define it and how you look at it.  If you have a few nights of less than perfect sleep, try to relax about it.  Your body will force you to catch up at some point.  If you worry about it, you will tend to be more stressed out and even less able to sleep.  I try to see it as “me” time.  If I wake up in the middle of the night, unable to get back to sleep, I practice deep breathing, I allow my mind to wander, I dream of things that I would like to do, and I generally see it as a blessing.  That is  a state of mind that is much more likely to allow me to fall back to sleep, rather than one where I worry about why I am awake, worry about how tired I am going to be tomorrow, and wondering what is wrong with me.  That kind of worry leads to more stress hormones and less sleep. 

So, if you have a bad night – try to stay calm-  enjoy the stillness and the thinking space.  You will probably find that, like me, you will fall back asleep before you know it. 

If your insomnia continues, it is a good idea to use one of the many helpful snoring products, pillows or insomnia aids at AllegroMedical.com  - or contact your doctor. 

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- Marita Klein

 About the Author:  Marita is an organizational development consultant who has helped many private and organizational clients live the lives they want through her forthright, no nonsense approach to management and life. She has a Ph.D. in organizational psychology and has worked effectively as executive coach and consultant in South Africa, Canada and the US. She can be contacted at:  maritaklein (at) cox (dot) net.