How to Eliminate Negative Sleep Thoughts

by Martin Reed Patient Advocate

Negative thoughts can impact a lot more than just how we present ourselves during the daytime. The way we think may have a lot to do with why we may not be able to overcome insomnia. If you have been dealing with the inability to sleep for a while, you probably have developed a subconscious fear of not being able to sleep.

These negative sleep thoughts can cause stress. Stress causes blood pressure to rise, as well as an increase in alertness, breathing, heart rate and brain waves. All of this makes sleep difficult to achieve. Identifying your negative thoughts may be the first step to overcoming insomnia.

Negative sleep thoughts may even carry over with you throughout the day. Many times they are shrouded in emotion, and you may not be aware that you ponder on them and give them power. Working to become aware of what is happening and understanding the thoughts clearly can be the keys to identifying subconscious negative sleep thought patterns.** The subconscious mind is a powerful thing**. Every day we are filing away thoughts and opinions about things. For instance, if you were driving in a new area, and you were almost involved in an auto accident by someone being careless on the road, you may subconsciously think that area is a dangerous place to drive. Each time you have to drive there your blood pressure may rise, and you may have an increased sense of alertness, breathing, heart rate and brain waves.

For those who have dealt with insomnia, your subconscious can also develop thoughts about sleep. Types of thoughts that may be feeding your insomnia can include:

  • Thinking that you are powerless against your insomnia.

  • Thinking you won’t be able to perform well for something you have to do the next day because you won’t be able to sleep.

  • Telling yourself that you are unlike other people because you cannot sleep.

To overcome negative sleep thoughts, monitor your thinking. When you catch yourself telling yourself a fact about yourself and your inability to sleep, analyze it. Why do you think that thought is a fact?

For instance, if you have the thought that you will not be able to perform well on a task because of your insomnia, ask yourself what supports that thought and whether it is really true. Think back to the numerous times when you did not have adequate sleep, but still were able to function adequately well on a task or in a given situation. Granted, you would have preferred to have been more rested, but you did rise to the occasion and perform the task well.

By doing this exercise when you catch yourself having negative sleep thoughts, you will be able to clearly show yourself there is no rational basis for this type of thinking. If there really is no rational reason for the thought, refute it in your mind. Over time, the thoughts that caused you stress and worry about sleep will become powerless as you reprogram your subconscious mind.

Telling yourself repeatedly to not think negative sleep thoughts will not work. If anything, it will make you ponder on them even more. Keep your mind and body as busy and active as possible. Try to live life as if you have no sleep issues. When the thoughts pop up, do the above exercise and take their power away. Then begin programming your subconscious mind with positive sleep thoughts.

Martin is the creator of Insomnia Land’s free two week online sleep training for insomnia. Over 3,000 insomniacs have completed his course and 96 percent of graduates say they would recommend it to a friend.

Martin Reed
Meet Our Writer
Martin Reed

Martin is the creator of Insomnia Coach, an eight-week course that combines online sleep education with individual sleep coaching. His course helps clients improve their sleep so they can enjoy a better life with more energy and start each day feeling happy, healthy, rested, and refreshed. Martin also runs a free sleep training course that has helped over 5,000 insomniacs. He holds a master’s degree in health and wellness education and studied clinical sleep health at the University of Delaware.