Poor sleep is associated with poor health and impaired performance. Stress, whether in form of daily hassles or work demands, is a major cause of poor sleep which becomes shorter and more fragmented. Unwanted, repetitive thoughts and unpleasant feelings are common symptoms of being stressed. During the working day they can be distracting, while at night they can interfere with sleep. Lying in bed dwelling on the day or planning the course of the next day, anticipating future problems – all of this can make your body react “as if” the real stressor is in bed with you, threatening your survival. Physiologically, repetitive thinking leads to an activation of the cardiovascular and hormonal systems and makes falling or staying asleep much harder. Therefore, disentangling or detachment from stressful thoughts and feelings is important to sleeping well.
This workshop explores how constant thinking about stressful events (i.e. being caught up in your thoughts about the past or future) hijacks your evolutionary heritage to anticipate and respond to danger. In particular, it focuses on how this prolonged stress response can impact on your sleep. You will learn skills and tools to disentangle and shift your attention from unhelpful thoughts and feelings onto the present moment (i.e. increase your psychological flexibility) to help settle the mind.