Overthinking These Common Sleep “Rules” Could be Sabotaging Your Shut-Eye
While it's important to bear in mind healthy guidelines for sleep, things can actually backfire if you rigidly follow or overthink all the healthy sleep "rules" out there. It's quite the paradox.
"It's a large reason why a lot of people have difficulty sleeping," says Nicole Moshfegh, PsyD, a clinical sleep psychologist at a private practice in Los Angeles. "There may be thoughts people are unaware of that can create feelings of anxiety or frustration, or people might be unaware of how much certain thoughts are affecting them."
For instance, maybe after noticing your sleep quality diminish over a few weeks, you decide to make some changes to improve it. You read articles about how to sleep better, and try to stick to these sleep rules. That's great—but following the rules too rigidly can sabotage your Zzzs. You may jump out of bed every time you're not using it solely for sleeping, since sleep experts encourage you to keep the bed a sacred sleeping space. While this recommendation is true and helpful, "you can become a little paranoid and follow a rule in a way that's actually increasing anxiety, and not actually serving you to be in a state of mind that's consistent with sleep," says Nancy Lin, PhD, clinical sleep psychologist and founder of Go to Sleep San Diego. Here are some commonly held sleep thoughts we tend to fixate on to the point of costing us sleep.