Free Sleep Quiz


Sleep Smart, Not Hard: Why Putting Effort Into Sleep Might Be Counterproductive


It can often be challenging to explain to clients why and how sleep efforts (anything you do to try and force sleep) don’t work. Afterall, we are rewarded in most other areas of life based on how hard we try. We are used to studying hard to get good grades, networking and putting in long hours for promotions and sweating it out in the gym. So, the idea of succeeding through inaction can often seem nonsensical. A concept our brain just doesn’t know how to compute!

Hi, my name is Sherry and I help people reduce stress and improve their sleep.

Trying To Sleep Is Like Trying To Fall In Love

I recently heard an analogy that I think explains the futility of trying to sleep really well. Have you ever been on a date with a great person? Someone you met online or maybe a friend fixed you up with and, while on the surface everything is fine (they are nice, attractive, can string a sentence together and appear to be sanitary) you just don’t feel that spark?

While you might have been single for a while and really want it to work, there’s just something about them that grates on your nerves. Maybe they are a bit boring, laugh too loud or you just have nothing in common.

How successful would you be if you were to try to force yourself to fall in love with this perfectly acceptable, slightly annoying (or boring) person?

Wanting To Control Sleep Isn't the Same As ACTUALLY Being Able To 

I don’t know about you, but I was single for quite a while before I met my partner/ man friend/ whatever you want to call him! At times it felt very lonely and a bit scary to be so on my own. I missed having a deep connection and sharing my life with someone so if I could have made myself fall for any of my many crappy date guys I would have!

Forcing yourself to fall asleep is kind of like trying to force yourself to fall in love. While most of us have a logical controlling part that says, “It’s just mind over matter, you can do this, just suck it up!” This admittedly horrible advice is rarely true!

I can’t tell you how love works or why it’s so complicated, that’s not my specialty. What I can tell you, after many years of working with my own insomnia experience and with clients, is that I personally have never met anyone who has successfully and consistently been able to force themselves to sleep.

Sleep Is An Autonomic Process Over Which We Have Little Control

This is because, just like digestion, mucus, and sweat production, sleep is an autonomic process which means that the body regulates sleep naturally, on its own. Yes, this process may become dysregulated at times due to life stresses, time changes etc, but, when left alone, the body will self-regulate and correct sleep over time.

Unfortunately, there is a current trend in the media to demonize lack of sleep and, while it may be helpful for people who are purposely choosing not to sleep (the I’ll sleep when I’m dead crowd) this message can be horrible for insomnia.

The reason being that, if we weren’t being bombarded by messages about how dangerous lack of sleep is, then we likely would not get as upset and worried about a few bad nights and this acceptance would allow the body time to naturally correct itself.

Studies have shown that it is this stress over disturbed nights and trying to control sleep that leads to the hyperarousal which keeps insomnia lingering night after night.

Interested in Learning More?

If you would like to learn more or book an individual session, please visit the Work With Me page or enroll in the 30 Day Beyond Sleep Course

In the meantime, I would like to leave you with this important message. You are not broken! You are whole, perfect, and healthy exactly as you are, and you CAN sleep!




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