How to Personalize Your Sleep ProgramNone By Jared Minkel, Ph.D.
Over the last few weeks, you've learned a lot about your sleep and practiced many new skills. Now it’s time for you to choose the pieces that work best for you. Be careful not to just choose what’s easiest or what you like—think about what will really be best for you long term. Imagine yourself 3 months down the road and think about how glad you’ll be that you chose what was best for you.
In Part 1 of the track, you learned about sleep and may even have started monitoring the key aspects of your own sleep, like how long it takes to fall asleep, how often you wake up in the night, and what kind of schedule you really have. What did you learn that was most helpful? Does your schedule have a good balance of consistency and flexibility? Were you surprised to find that you actually slept better with a later bedtime? Did you find it easier to wake up in the morning once your schedule was more consistent? Do you usually go to bed and wake up at around the same time each day? Are there any areas here you would like to improve? Think about what you would like to emphasize over this final week of the track.
In Part 2, you learned to focus on the day as well as the night to set yourself up for good sleep. Has your daytime functioning improved? Are you better at managing fatigue? Do you feel more confident that you can get through the day even after a bad night’s sleep? Are there any countermeasures you didn’t try? Are there any bad habits still sticking around? Choose one or two ideas from Part 2 that you really want to emphasize.
In Part 3, you learned some skills for managing emotions by focusing on the thoughts and images that keep you from sleeping. Did you find that you tend to worry more about sleep itself or do concerns about other aspects of your life keep you up at night? Were you able to notice the thoughts that were unhelpful and correct or replace them with beliefs based on science and new skills? Were you surprised to find that some of the things you thought would help actually backfire? This is a good time to shape up skills that were most helpful until they become second nature for you.
If you worked hard and tried new things each week, you probably noticed that the different skills start to interact in helpful and powerful ways. If you were worried about sleep, keeping a regular schedule probably helped you stop worrying so much. If you focused on daytime functioning and got better at managing fatigue, you probably found yourself sleeping better at night knowing you have the skills you need to face the day. Every aspect of this program influences the others. Day and night, sleep and emotion, knowledge of sleep and confidence in sleep are all intimately linked. If you didn’t get where you needed to be, try it again on your own now that you know how all the different pieces interact. Each of us has a strong biological demand to sleep that is nearly as old as life on Earth itself. Work on removing the barriers to sleep, and you will find that your ability to sleep has been there all along.
Go back to Dr. Minkel's Get the Best Sleep of Your Life track