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What causes sleep anxiety?

Updated: Mar 27, 2020

Anxiety is caused by negative thinking. It is not the events in ones life that necessarily cause the perception of crisis, it is our thought patterns surrounding the events in our life.

Every negative thought we have is converted into anxiety. We can create anxiety by negatively forecasting the future. Have you every had a meeting you were working about? Intellectually you know that the meeting will go well, because they generally do, but being you you start to think about things going wrong, you think about it 50 times, the actual meeting goes quite well but you have attended 51 meetings and 50 of them have been disasters.

Now, every negative thought we have is accumulated and stored in a stress bucket. We do have a method of emptying our bucket and it is known as REM sleep, rapid eye movement. At night we re-run events of the day and change them from being an emotional memory to a narrative memory. A memory we have control over.

You will be familiar with how REM works, someone upsets you in the afternoon and you are really upset, someone took your parking space at the supermarket, or someone was rude to you and you are really annoyed by it. You keep thinking about it and just can't forget what happened.

During your REM sleep you will re-run the event and you move it from the primitive brain to the intellectual brain where you have control over it. So when you wake up in the morning you might well have forgotten about that event or you will certainly be saying something like why do I allow these people to upset me so much.

However, REM sleep is restricted to only about 20 of our sleep patterns because it is hard work for the body. If we try and overdo that our mind will wake us up. You know when it is your mind waking you up because you wake up wide awake and often feel quite miserable. Often you can't get back to sleep again.

Now you are in the grip of a bit of a vicious circle. The more you have in your bucket the more time you will spend in your primitive brain and the more you will be encouraged to be negative.

It is very important for us to produce a constant flow of serotonin to keep us happy, coping, brave little souls. We can do this by interacting a positive way, be active in a positive way and think in a positive way because when we do we produce patterns in the brain that give us that constant flow of serotonin.

So by restricting the amount we are piling into our bucket and concentrating on the positive things in your life, you will know when you are doing this when you start sleeping better.

Download my free relaxation recording to help empty your bucket and start sleeping better from day 1.

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