If you’ve read any of my blogs, you know that my approach to helping people recover from chronic insomnia includes addressing what's going on in the subconscious mind. The role of the subconscious is mysteriously absent in the world of sleep health!
There are dozens of sleep programs out on the market but virtually NONE of them address the subconscious as a major player in chronic sleep patterns.
Before I give you 3 subconscious secrets for overcoming insomnia, let’s explore this powerful aspect of the mind.
The subconscious knows everything about you.
It is millions of times smarter than your conscious mind and it drives 90% of the human experience. All of the information from all the experiences throughout your entire life is stored in the subconscious. These billions of subconscious references create the perceptions, beliefs, thoughts, behaviors, and identities that govern our actions and outcomes.
So, basically, the subconscious operates based on the information it’s holding.
I could go on all day about the subconscious but for the sake of brevity, I'll recommend this article for a killer overview on why your subconscious mind is ridiculously powerful.
Okay, so we know the subconscious mind holds the hard-drive to basically our entire lives. It runs off the information we give it. We also know that most of that information comes from our early childhood experiences. Sometimes, even though we consciously want something more than anything, we subconsciously operate from information that conflicts with our goal or desire. That's because there's something in the hard-drive, beneath our conscious awareness, that contradicts what we really want. The mind is actually running off of data it took in years, or even decades ago (which may or may not still be accurate), and that data doesn't match up with what we are currently trying to achieve.
This creates a lot of dissonance and downright confusion.
Here's why understanding the subconscious is so important:
All the sleep hygiene, affirmations, and behavioral training in the world isn’t going to work if there are deep-seated, subconscious reasons that the brain thinks it’s safer for you not to sleep than to sleep.
Go ahead and read that again. I'll wait 😊
Because it's likely the real reason you're not sleeping! Addressing the subconscious gets to the ROOT CAUSE of why patterns of insomnia are showing up in your life.
The number one driver of our sleep is what we believe about sleep. And those beliefs stem from our subconscious holdings. Let me provide a story for context.
Picture a young girl named Lisa. At age 4, Lisa overhears her mother, in a very exasperated tone, tell another family member that, “Lisa is a very anxious sleeper.” Lisa, being just 4 years old, doesn’t understand the entire context of the conversation because she hasn’t developed sophisticated reasoning skills yet. So, her mind just records “Lisa is a very anxious sleeper.”
Because the statement came from Lisa’s primary caretaker, it holds a lot of weight and has a great deal of emotional charge. The greater the emotional charge, the stronger a memory is hardwired in the brain.
Then, at around age 35, Lisa starts experiencing multiple negative impacts in her life as a result of lifelong anxiousness and insomnia. When she takes steps towards alleviating anxiety and improving her sleep, she can’t help but notice that she actually seems to get worse.
How is this even possible?
Lisa is experiencing pushback. Also known as “resistance.” It's an attempt on the part of the subconscious to stay in alignment with what it “knows.” But Lisa isn’t aware of this very common response and considers herself a total failure. When in fact, she’s doing absolutely everything right!
I help people figure out the unconscious reasons they're not sleeping. The subconscious structures that are keeping insomnia firmly in place. We all harbor programs, experiences, and beliefs about sleep that we're not necessarily aware of.
Okay, without further ado, here are 3 subconscious secrets for overcoming insomnia!
Let Go of the "Insomniac" Identity Never, ever, EVER identify as an insomniac! (In fact, don’t identify with insomnia at all.) If you take just one thing away from this blog, please make it this.
The subconscious listens to everything we think and everything we say. It doesn’t reason or logic, it just takes in information.
If you call yourself an “insomniac,” it’s going to do everything possible to stay in line with the identity of “insomniac.” If you say, “I have insomnia,” the subconscious is going to work hard to produce insomnia.
The subconscious is literally that literal!
Notice Your Perception of Sleep We all have conscious and unconscious perceptions of sleep. How do you perceive sleep? Is it a good thing or a bad thing? A bestie or an enemy? Something that nurtures you or something that tortures you?
Ever noticed those people that can fall asleep literally anywhere? Busses, trains, planes… And sitting STRAIGHT UP no less?!
I used to look at those people in wonder. Absolute awe. How, exactly, were they doing that??
I will tell you.
They don’t give sleep a second thought. They don’t perceive it positively or negatively. In fact, they don’t think about it at all.
If they feel like sleeping, they just, well... sleep.
Notice your perception of sleep. How you're talking about it. How you're thinking about it. Then ask yourself if it's helping you or hurting you? If it’s not helping you, go ahead and let it go.
Tune Into Your Sleep BELIEFS This is the MOTHER SHIP, y’all. The jackpot. You see, the subconscious being the subconscious does everything possible to keep you in alignment with what you believe. You may have core beliefs about sleep you’re not even aware of!
These include family beliefs, beliefs about your sense of safety while sleeping at night, unconscious beliefs, or negative associations with the bed or nighttime itself.
Your brain creates beliefs from the events that occur in childhood. This might be something as simple as a particularly bad nightmare. Or maybe a movie like Jaws or the Wizard of Oz scared the hell out of you and were afraid to go to sleep for a period of time. Perhaps you saw a ghost at a young age or wet the bed and the brain linked that negatively with sleep. It can be anything, really. Memories and beliefs can lie dormant until a stressful event occurs later in life at which point, they can become active and impact sleep.
You can do a deeper dive into sleep beliefs with this blog: The #1 Thing to Ask Yourself if You Have Chronic Insomnia
Somehow, somewhere along the way, your brain decided that is was safer for you not to sleep than to sleep. And, as a result of those links, insomnia became a habit. A skill, so to speak. But... that can be changed.
Because the unconscious mind takes instruction very well! Remember, it doesn't reason or logic (the conscious mind takes care of that), it just does what you tell it to do.
What are your questions? Do you have any subconscious beliefs that you’re aware of? Click here to ask me anything, I answer every single message or email.
Always in support,
Beth Kendall MA, FNTP
Holistic Sleep Coach
Health Disclaimer: The information and other content provided in this blog, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.
- Why there's no mystery to insomnia
- The most important thing to know about sleep
- Why sleep hygiene doesn't work
-How to create a "sleeper's identity"
- The ONE (and only) thing you need to sleep
-Why most sleep programs miss the mark
- The biggest myths about sleep
- How to end insomnia for good
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