What is Yes And Theory & How Can It Help Insomnia?Sep 11, 2023
So, what is Yes And Theory and what does it have to do with insomnia?
Don’t worry, you have not missed groundbreaking new research, that is guaranteed to make you sleep. Unfortunately, that does not exist because, as we all know, you can’t control sleep. You can only control your responses around it.
You likely have not heard of Yes And Theory because I made it up! Let me explain.
As a coach I ask A LOT of questions. This is because, as any properly trained coach knows, everyone is different. We are all a unique blend of epigenetics, thoughts, life experiences and perceptions. This means that there is no 1 universal reason for insomnia (which is largely emotion based).
Ten people could come to me with stress related insomnia and, while each one is struggling with stress, all 10 of their solutions will look a bit different. The needs of a stressed-out businesswoman with 3 kids are not the same as those of a college student, for example.
First, it’s important to realize that stress is not the only factor, there are likely many things influencing someone’s ability to sleep.
Picture an old-fashioned scale (the kind with 2 baskets that they used to use to weigh gold). If the weight was balanced the baskets would sit at an even height, but if 1 basket was heavier it would dip down, hoisting the lighter basket further up into the air).
If you are watching this, then it is likely that your insomnia basket is currently very heavy. There may be many stressful nights, unsuccessful attempts at sleep, lifestyle choices and anxiety producing circumstances in this basket. In contrast, your healthy sleep basket is quite light. While you have likely tried many sleep hygiene practices, pills and potions, none of that has been impactful enough to tip the scales and even out the heaviness of insomnia.
While many of these can be helpful practices (such as getting morning sun to regulate circadian rhythm) they are not heavy enough on their own to balance the scale. We need to take some items out of the insomnia basket and add resources to healthy sleep, in order to find balance. It’s not just 1 solution, it’s many. Think of mindset and intention as 1000lb boulders. They make a BIG difference, especially when paired with all the other little things (the pebbles) we do to maintain a healthy life.
Yes And… helps you to explore your life to even out those baskets!
Every person who walks through my door has a unique set of needs and, in order to uncover what they are, it’s my job to ask questions and fully listen to the response. Hearing both what is and isn’t said.
As I sit listening, the phrase “Yes And” often repeats itself in my head.
“I need to eat healthier” Yes and… “I am stressed all day” Yes and… “I don’t have any downtime” Yes and….
As a society, we are trained to look for 1 solution. The magic bullet that will cure everyone’s problem and instantly make it go away. Unfortunately, in my experience, this is a myth.
Even if there was 1 solution that worked for everyone, it would likely need to be so targeted that it would only “fix” 1 aspect of disturbed sleep. A great example of this is HRT. Many women begin to experience disturbed sleep around menopause. For these women, HRT can be extremely helpful as it balances out hormones (giving a little boost where necessary). This is great for physical symptoms such as night sweats (which are uncomfortable and can make sleep a challenge) but unlikely to do anything to help with the stress of becoming an empty nester or saving for retirement and it would do nothing to improve sleep architecture if the woman in question was managing this stress by drinking 3 bottles of wine before bed.
It also does nothing for the 20 yr old college student studying for finals.
Can you see how this search for 1 definitive solution can become problematic?
We are all a unique collection of biology, life experience and mental processes. Life does not happen in a vacuum and all factors need to be taken into account when looking at disturbed sleep and insomnia.
A true coach’s job is not to provide their clients with answers. I’m not the expert on you. YOU ARE!
It’s a coach’s job to help you see your blocks, reframe unhelpful thoughts, and learn how to ask intelligent questions within yourself to uncover your own, unique solution.
Being a unique being, almost by definition, also means being complicated. This is where Yes And Theory (essentially keeping an open mind and exploring deeper) can be very helpful.
If you would like to learn more or book an individual session, please visit the Memberships page.
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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