📓 TAKE ACTION: Reflecting on your sleep distortions

There is a famous sleep scale called the ‘dysfunctional attitudes and beliefs about sleep scale’ which asks you to rate how much you agree with some sleep statements. One thing it does is highlights where sometimes our beliefs about sleep are not so accurate or based in science. This can really help to understand why we do certain behaviours which we think are helping, but actually make our sleep worse. Below are some of the statements I would like you to focus on for a little while and ask yourself whether they represent any of your thoughts. That’s all you need to do.

Write down these statements you see below on a notepad, then on a scale of 1 (disagree) to 10 (agree) or somewhere in between, write down a number. You can even add in some of your own beliefs not covered here if you start thinking about them.

(Keep the notepad handy… you will notice throughout the program, these statements are challenged. Once we challenge the beliefs, it’s easier to get rid of the unhelpful behaviours that make sleep worse).

“I need 8 hours of sleep to feel refreshed and function well during the day”

“When I do not get a proper amount of sleep on a given night, I need to catch up the next day by napping or the next night by sleeping longer”

“I am concerned that chronic insomnia may have serious consequences for my physical health”

“I am worried that I may lose control over my abilities to sleep”

“After a poor night’s sleep, I know that it will interfere with my daily activities on the next day”

“In order to be alert and function well during the day, I am better off taking a sleeping pill rather than having a poor night’s sleep”

“When I feel irritable, depressed, or anxious during the day, it is mostly because I did not sleep well the night before”

“When I sleep poorly on one night, I know that it will disturb my sleep schedule for the whole week”

“Without an adequate night’s sleep, I can hardly function the next day”

“I can’t ever predict whether I will have a good or poor night’s sleep”

“I have little ability to manage the negative consequences of disturbed sleep”

“When I feel tired, have no energy, or just seem not to function well during the day, it is generally because I did not sleep well the night before”

“I believe that insomnia is essentially a result of a chemical imbalance”

“I feel that insomnia is ruining my ability to enjoy life and prevents me from doing what I want”

“Medication is probably the only solution to sleeplessness”

“I avoid or cancel obligations (social, family, occupational) after a poor night’s sleep”