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How To Overcome Sleep Procrastination

Are you procrastinating sleep?

How To Overcome Sleep Procrastination

Are you procrastinating sleep?
Looking to overcome sleep procrastination? You've done it too, right? Stayed up to watch "just one more" episode on Netflix or just one more game on your phone and before you know it - it's the early hours and you're dragging yourself wirily to bed, already regretting your choices? You're not alone - but it doesn't have to be that way.

You've Done It Too, right?

When it comes to seep procrastination we are often our own worst enemies. There are so many different, creative ways that we get in our way. It could be by staying up late to watch “just one more episode” of that show you’ve been watching – even if it rarely is just one more. Maybe you’re an expert at procrastinating with pointless games on your phone. There’s the gamers of the world who love to convince themselves that it’ll just be five more minutes multiple times before eventually crawling into bed shortly before sunrise, knowing they will regret it in the morning. And then there’s those nights where we get lost in a rabbit hole on YouTube or wikipedia that starts with looking up a question about King Henry VIII and somehow leads on to discovering that there are human cyclists using echolocation (like bats and dolphins) to find their way around. (Seriously, google it – but not at bedtime).

Maybe you’ve experienced one of those many examples of sleep procrastination. Or maybe you’ve witnessed a child taking it to expert levels with their pointless questions at bedtime and suddenly needing a drink an hour after they should have been in bed.

Why Do We Procrastinate Sleep?

So what makes us put it off for so long? What stops us embracing bedtime and how do we change this?

It makes sense to start by exploring WHY we do this in order to better understand it so that we can find the solution. The first thing to note is that it is absolutely ‘normal’ to experience this. There may be a number of different causes but you are definitely not alone and you are not ‘broken’. It’s a standard part of human behaviour when we are young and incredibly common to experience it again in adulthood.

Here, we will take a look at some of the most common reasons (or excuses) with some tips on how to overcome the related procrastination. 

Technology

Technology has a huge part to play in this behaviour. Spending time at night looking at screens, in itself encourages our brain to want to do more of them same. The constantly changing pixels and the effect of the blue light all encourage our brain to be more active. This leads to more looking at screens and so the loop continues.

Tip: Set an alarm as a reminder to switch off notifications and leave your phone alone in the run up to bed.
If you have an iPhone you can set sleep times and schedule ‘do not disturb mode’. On Android you can download apps that allow you to do the same.

You could also benefit from planning a specific activity in the lead up to bed that doesn’t need technology, such as reading, colouring or meditation. Maybe even a Relax Club track.

Social (And Other) Media

Along with the technology itself the apps we use are all designed to feed our desires as humans so that we use them more. Facebook want’s you to keep using Facebook, TikTok wants you to keep scrolling, Tinder wants you to keep swiping and let’s not even mention some of the other popular websites on the internet. These apps are all designed, with human behaviour in mind, to keep you hooked and engaged.

It’s very common for people to get into the habit of scrolling through while already in bed. Sometimes we don’t feel that tired yet so we decide to “just scroll until we feel more sleepy”. The problem is, the flickering screen keeps our mind active and often we don’t notice how sleepy we are.

Tip: The same as above apply here. Also, make sure you put your phone down on the other side of the room before you get into bed. (If you normally charge your phone at night move the charger now to remind you to change the habit) This will stop you scrolling when you’re already in bed, including if you do wake in the night. This can also help you start your day better but that’s a whole other blog post.

Too Busy To Sleep?

Work pressure, personal to-do lists and not enough hours in the day. Sleep sometimes feels like a necessary evil that we don’t want to have to make time for. As if it’s this thing which just sucks away our time which could be better spent working on all the other areas of life that we want to devote more time to. Particularly if we don’t manage stress well through the day. Of course, we would actually be more productive and work more efficiently if we did prioritise sleep but reason and logic aren’t always at their best late at night with a looming deadline.

Tip: Sleep makes you more productive. Prioritising it is a choice. Rather than looking at it as something you have to do, remind yourself that it is something that allows you achieve more and perform better.

DECIDE to prioritise it.

FOMO

Fear Of Missing Out has a role to play in sleep procrastination too. In this day and age, with 24 hour access to much, if not all, of what we want and the connected age where there is always *someone* we can connect with or *something* we can engage with.

You could, of course, end up missing out on something because you didn’t get up sooner or feel as good as you would from sleeping well, so staying up late really may not save you from missing out anyway.

Tip: Longer fun isn’t always more fun, you can end the night earlier and still have great positive memories and staying up late also means missing out – missing out on valuable sleep, rest and recovery.

Negative Associations With Sleep

It may be surprising to you how many people have strong negative associations with sleep. This plays a role in encouraging procrastination without even acknowledging that there’s a reason for it. It could be as simple as not wanting to go to bed because you associate bedtime with being uncomfortable, tossing and turning rather than sleeping. It could be that going to bed was seen as a punishment when you were younger and you’re still holding on to that now. It could even be a more serious association like relating sleep with past trauma such as abuse (if this is the case, please do get in touch – it doesn’t have to be this way).

Tip: Decide instead to enjoy the process of going to bed. Do something different to create a new association and focus on the relaxation in bed rather than the ‘battle’ of getting to sleep.
Take the focus off of sleeping by enjoying a visualisation or relaxation track instead.
If it’s something more serious, get in touch to see how I can help.

Control

Sometimes staying up late is about taking control over yourself and your own time. Again, this can be learned from childhood or it can become a way of coping with having less control of your own time as an adult. For example, when people have children they may stay up late as it feels like the only time they have exclusively for themselves. It may be that you’re in a relationship and don’t get enough time for you without your partner – this was especially true during lockdown.

Tip: find a way to build in ‘you’ time that doesn’t require staying up so late and disrupting sleep. This could be dedicated time for you at the weekend, in the mornings or through the day. It may not be practical to take hours at a time for you but little and often can have a huge positive impact too.

Self Sabotage

Sometimes people put off going to bed as a way of holding themselves back. It may be a collection of the reasons above being used as excuses where the reality is that sometimes we don’t feel we *deserve* to look after ourselves properly.

Tip: recognise it for what it is and give yourself the permission to sleep. If you need more help with self sabotage, get in touch.

Taking the time to question what stops you sleeping and explore the reason behind it can provide a positive solution in itself. Realising how you think about sleep and recognising that it’s actually a really key part of self care may help you to make different choices.

A little planning can also be a powerful thing. Deciding in advance, when you have more energy and clarity to make healthier choices, to change your habits can make it easier to make that change a reality. Set an alarm to remind you about bedtime. Use apps that force your phone into do not disturb mode or even block out social media apps at certain times. Take action NOW to create a better future.

Sleep Better

Looking for more tips and advice on how to enjoy better sleep and start feeling better? Register now to join me for this free sleep webinar.
FREE WEBINAR

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Don’t Pay Attention To This Title!

Why positive language is important

Don’t Pay Attention To This Title!

Why does positive language matter?

Why positive language is important
The language you use matters! If somebody else spoke to you the way you speak to yourself - How would you feel about that person? If you wouldn’t like someone else speaking to you that way, why do you speak to yourself that way?

The Language We Use Is Powerful.

The way we speak has the ability to influence people and to produce results from ourselves and others that wouldn’t otherwise happen. Yet so often we use it to create results which are not what we would choose, normally without even realising we are doing it. Read on to explore the power and impact of positive language and some simple changes you can make which can have a profound impact.

Toxic Positivity

Positive language is about choosing words which focus on the outcome you desire rather than on avoiding the undesirable. Often when people talk about positive language they make reference to toxic positivity which you can read more about here.

Using positive language well is not about lying to yourself and saying everything is fine when it’s not. In reality – life is not all rainbows and kittens – so why pretend it is? It’s okay to not be okay and it’s unrealistic to expect for everything to always go your way. The key to an empowered life isn’t pretending everything is fin when it’s not but about choosing where to put your focus. If things aren’t perfect you don’t need to pretend they are but you can choose to focus on making it better.

Positive focus and especially positive language is about directing your attention not toward what you don’t want but toward ideal outcomes and how to achieve them.

Expectations Influence Results

There have been many studies showing that when people believe themselves to be ‘lucky’ they are more likely to spot opportunities that those considering themselves ‘unlucky’ miss. As Henry Ford famously said “Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right.” It’s easy to talk about belief and share positive quote, but the key to creating a shift in those beliefs lies within the language we use.

It's All About Suggestion

Suggestions are around us all the time. Some blatant as a billboard advertising someone’s favourite ‘fast food’ and some more subtle that you may not even see as a suggestion. They all have the power to influence us

 Imagine yourself walking into a room full of people you know. Someone turns to you and says “Hi, you look great!” I recon you’d respond quite positively, maybe even just imagining that made you smile a little? Image the same situation but someone asks “Are you okay? You look tired.” Instantly, you are likely to feel more tired. It’s almost as if you do a mental scan of your body looking for signs that you are tired (but ignoring the signs that you are awake as irrelevant to the statement). You likely end up feeling worse and probably more tired.

In both of those examples above, the person speaking to you influenced using ‘suggestions’ with their choice of words (even if they didn’t mean to). Of course, someone you know has more impact than a billboard and the closer they are to you, the more impact they have. Your parents growing up, for example, probably had a greater impact with their words and actions as did anyone you gave ‘authority’ too. But there is one person who’s opinions have more impact on you than anyone else: YOU.

Listen To Yourself

When your language and the way that you speak to yourself spurs you on and encourages action you’re more likely to achieve far more than if you are pulling yourself down, beating yourself up and telling yourself you’ll never make it.

Because your own voice is internal, it has far more power than the words that other people use. It’s a little like having ten other people following you around repeating those words back to you. Would you be able to complete a task to your best ability with a group of people around you talking you down and berating you?

We often use language patterns that hold us back without even realise that we are doing it. Like when we tell a toddler to not kick off their boots and they go ahead and do just that. If we talk about how cozy their feet must feel in those boots, they are far more likely to keep those boots on. This is all easy for me to say, as someone who has studied human behaviour and psychology with over 15 years of practice in empowering people through the use of language but I want to make it easy for you to improve without the years of training and experience. Here are my top tips to improving your language:

Don't Say Don't

This is probably the simplest and most powerful change you can make to your language. Every time you say ‘don’t’ you are focusing on the very thing that you don’t want rather than the outcome you desire. For example, stop saying “Don’t Forget” and replace it with “Remember to…” It’s amazing the difference this small change can have. “Don’t run” becomes “Slow down” and “Don’t think about that pink elephant…” (you just thought of one, right?) Becomes “focus on this red hammer” instead (made you forget about the elephant again… until you read this sentence). There are other ‘don’t words’ too, like “stop” for example.

Anything that leads to you focusing on the thing you DON’T want can be instantly improved by changing it to the thing you DO want.

Always Avoid Always

Always is an absolute. The implication being that if you have ‘always’ struggled with this or ‘always’ been bad at that, you always will be. This is only true if you choose it to be. You could decide to turn that around and continue to get better at those things instead.

Never Say Never

Similar to always, ‘never’ feels very permanent and so, even if we are talking about the past, our mind has a tendency to project this into the future.

Try Not To Try

When you talk about things you did in the past you say you did them, when you talk about things that didn’t work out you may say you tried them. Why put the expectation of failure into your future? We all have a friend that will “try and make it” but not turn up, right? Follow Yoda’s advice on this one. “Do or do not, there is no try”

These are guidelines not rules. Use them to highlight opportunities to improve your language but remember…

No-one ever beat themselves up into being nicer to themselves.

If you notice your said “don’t forget” instead of focusing on remembering. Pause, smile and repeat the sentence in a positive way instead. Celebrating that you’ve noticed the opportunity to improve is far better than telling yourself off for the mistake. Mistakes are how you learn and each time you correct your language you are making it easier to notice and correct it in the future too.

 

Know someone else who could benefit from reading this? Go on… give it a share. 

The home of

Get a weekly burst of positivity and mindset-boosting activities!

 

Looking for a POSITIVE and SUPPORTIVE community on Facebook?

Click the image below to join now.

Arrange a chat or
book a consultation to see if
Duncan is the right person
to help you to
EMPOWER YOURSELF
and embrace positive change today.

Enjoy the benefits of hypnotic relaxation and professionally designed meditation tracks in the palm of your hand.

Sleep better – Feel better – Focus better
Boost Focus – Boost mood – Boost positivity

Check out my other articles:

Spooking image

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