JJ Ferrari Blog

What To Do When Fear Won’t Let You Sleep

JJ Ferrari

How to “Intentionally” Sleep Better

Quality sleep is just a dream for millions of people worldwide. So why do so many people have problems with fear not letting them sleep? For some it can be a serious side effect from medications, poor diet or health issues. For the majority of us non-sleepers, it’s more likely the idea that we go to bed with a mind full of thoughts and images from the day and a list of things not completed, we end up being haunted by them and reliving all of it in our sleep. I’ve learned from years of poor sleep the importance of making my pre-sleep time more effective to get me as close as possible to a refreshing and rejuvenating sleep each night [Being honest, I achieve this 5-6 nights a week, but one night a week it seems my fears and highly packed schedule find their way into my head and bed]. Here’s some ideas I’ve practiced for a while now that can intentionally improve your sleep. First let’s look at…

The Unseen Impact of Fear on Sleep [and your waking hours]

Ever experienced this; every night, as you lay in bed, fear subtly crept into your thoughts? One minute you’re thinking about a person, task or situation and the next minute fear has slipped in and enveloped your mind. Then your mind replays the your thoughts, lists and situations over and over, creating an insomniac loop. Its awful. Here’s the thing, this kind of nightly fear-fueled unrest affects more than just our sleep.

Left Unattended: The Domino Effect on Decisions and Emotions

Waking up with a fogged mind, lack of quality sleep doesn’t just a make us restlessness through the night; it has far-reaching consequences. Poor sleep exacerbates health issues and creates stress in vulnerable parts of your body. Ever wake up stiff and achy like you just did a full body weight workout? That’s fear saying good morning. Fear actually thinks it did you a favour and went through all the thoughts you gave it [remember fear is simply a reactive process in the brain, we give it the fuel to act] but fear has no ideas as to the consequences of its actions. It doesn’t know that not sleeping well and waking up physically tired makes it difficult to manage emotions effectively. Fear doesn’t think, well I should let them sleep so they can function, instead it just reacts [again] when you don’t feel good in your body, so your mind doesn’t feel good either. This emotional turmoil fuels more fear and can move into anxious or angry emotions as well, creating a vicious cycle that impacts your day, which will impact the following night’s sleep.

As fear takes center stage in your subconscious during sleepless nights, it goes beyond ruining a single day and left unattended, it can reshape your whole outlook on life. Fear and no sleep is dangerous! This combination can lead to poor decisions and near impossible emotional management. Too many nights in a row of these twin terrors can lead to poor decisions, lowered self-confidence, not playing nice with others and emotional eruptions [at exactly the wrong time], in other words it can long term effects that you never see coming. 

What Are Some Intentional Solutions?

Because this has plagued me for a while I’ve tried a lot of things. These are the 5 most effective intentional strategies I found. I still practice them daily and they are simple yet effective.

  1. Dietary changes: I didn’t go radical on diet. I incorporated eating fruit in the morning and one other meal in early evening. I never eat later than 6pm [because i go to bed around 9-930 and dont want food in my stomach]. Second thing I did was reduce caffiene. I still have it when I wake up, but use chai tea and water through the day. Thats it. I simplified my eating, reduced caffiene and it fed it good carbohydrates and water. The side effects on my body were great as well. Craft a Pre-Bed Routine: I’m a chronic overthinker, so I needed to establish a calming routine before bedtime. This included reading books [I read 8-10 books a month], I take warm baths, or do some simple stretches and breathing. This creates a buffer zone between the chaos of the day and the serenity I pray for at night. It helped to dissipate most fear and worry thoughts and promoted calmness in my brain and body.
  2. Journalling: When I finish eating my 6pm meal, I dont dash to the television anymore. I get out my journal and empty my brain of tasks, challenges, the days events and tomorrow’s to dos. Before you lay down, try putting pen to paper and think on your dreams and goals. This one really worked for me. I noticed my goals showing up in my dreams and I found I was waking up with solutions. This simple act helps transfer your mental baggage into a small book you can close and forget [by the way, I started using a seperate journal for worries and goals. So I have a happy journal and a grumpy journal. I throw the grumpy journals away and keep my happy journals. I’ll write more on journals soon] freeing your mind from the weight of unresolved issues can really help put your fears to bed.
  3. Plan Your Next Day: An organised tomorrow can ease the anxiety of tonight. Take a few moments to plan your tasks and priorities for the following day. I now limit my day to three or four major things to accomplish. [I also started getting up earlier so I could accomplish things without interruption, which I will also write about soon.] Knowing you have a roadmap waiting can alleviate the fear of the unknown, allowing you to count sheep and fall asleep instead of counting the number of tasks to do tomorrow.
  4. Establish a Wake-Up Routine: Just as pre-bed routines are crucial, so are morning rituals. Having a morning schedule and a plan for the day allows me to function and get things done even on days I haven’t gotten all the sleep I needed. One thing I plan for each day is a midday 20 minute power nap. Sounds silly, but it has been an unparalleled remedy for having a great day on less sleep. [Simply set an alarm and try and make it around the same time each day. Super powerful!] Give yourself time in the morning to wake up gently, perhaps with a calming activity like stretching, deep breathing, or enjoying a healthy breakfast. Starting the day with a positive routine can set a confident tone, counteracting the lingering effects of nighttime fear.
  5. Gratitude: Many people recommend meditation, but sitting still and letting my mind go blank is not something I find easy. What I do find easy and gets me out of my head each night is gratitude practice. I simply go through all the things big and small that I’m grateful happened on the day. Its a simple way to start remembering all the great things and see the challenges as smaller than they felt during the day. Once I’ve done this, I send blessings to my children, my family, my friends, my business partner and clients. I lay there sending out love, health, healing to as many people as I can. It feels great to honestly and without anyone knowing to send well wishes. This has a very strong effect on my energy and soothes my mind because it takes my mind off of me and puts it on people I love and things I’m grateful for.

Sleeping with Confidence

In the complex dance between fear and sleep, you can take intentional actions which make all the difference. By addressing the root of nighttime fear and consciously improving your pre-sleep practices, you pave the way for better emotional management and decision-making during your waking hours.

Remember, fear may never sleep, but with the right practices, you can transform your nights into a well planned pattern of rest and rejuvenation. Take charge of your sleep, break the cycle of fear, and step into each day with a newfound sense of empowerment.

Wishing you a great night’s sleep tonight and forever more!

JJ Ferrari

Ready to explore this topic further? Consider inviting JJ Ferrari to speak at your next event. JJ Ferrari specializes in turning fear into confidence, offering insights and strategies that resonate with audiences looking to conquer their fears and unlock their true potential.

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