WebMD: Sleep can go awry for many reasons. While changing your sleep mindset can’t counteract poor sleep habits or a health issue that’s keeping you up, your expectations do matter.
Psychologist Meredith Rumble, PhD, director of the behavioral sleep medicine program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says it’s common for people to worry about what comes after a bad night’s sleep.
That often looks like dreading the fatigue you predict you’ll feel the next day, worrying about whether you’ll need meds to help you sleep, or fearing that your sleep is slipping out of your control. Plus, Rumble says people often hyper-focus on how exhausted they feel the next day.
When you notice yourself fearing a bad night ahead, Rubman suggests flipping the script to change your mindset about sleep: “Maybe I’ll have a bad night tonight. Maybe I won’t.”
Rubman also suggests keeping last night’s poor sleep from forcing you into bed too early. She says, “Sometimes people will feel like, ‘Oh my God, I got a terrible night’s sleep last night. I need to go to bed extra early tonight to catch up on my sleep.’” But that doesn’t work if you’re getting under the covers before you’re actually tired.
“You’re not hungry after you’ve had a big dinner for Thanksgiving, right? You have to let that hunger build up,” Rubman explained. Similarly, you can’t force sleep if you haven’t been awake long enough.