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Overcoming racing thoughts at night

Frustrated with waking in the night, Deborah got curious about studying her own core beliefs to find her Restful Sleep

Image to represent Deborah struggling with racing thoughts at night, before she got Restful Sleep coaching

Sleep struggles with racing thoughts at night

I didn’t really have problems falling asleep, my struggle was with waking up in the middle of the night. Sometimes I’d fall back to sleep within twenty minutes or so, but would often take much longer, sometimes I wouldn’t sleep at all. Whatever happened, I’d feel tense, staring at my ceiling, feeling anxious about how the day ahead would be without enough rest. Again.

As a teacher, I’d find myself struggling to keep up with the pace of the day and would find myself being more abrupt with people. Less so with the children I work with, more with colleagues when we needed to collaborate. I was also moody with people close to me in my personal life and found myself becoming more distant.

I didn’t want grumpiness to become my personality, but I also didn’t have the energy to try and work out how or where to start with doing things differently.

When I got the feedback of ‘not being a team player’ during my annual review, I felt this sense of cringe, as well as frustration and sadness - I knew I had to do something to try and break my sleep pattern and get more energy.

Getting clarity with Restful Sleep coaching

Through working with Maša, we covered the practical factors of my sleep routine, as well as approaching what was going on with my mental well-being. I was a little reluctant to get into the personal details of my habits at first - whilst I am do want to look after my well-being and follow some self care, I don’t appreciate being lectured on all the things I am doing wrong!

Working with Maša was, thankfully, nothing like that. We were able to review my lifestyle surprisingly quickly thanks to the embodiment exercises she shared, which were powerful and also fun. A key insight that came up for me was that what woke me up most often was a feeling I didn’t have many words for, something that I now describe as emptiness.

In my sleep coaching sessions we worked out that when I woke up in the middle of the night, I’d often experience dissatisfaction which came in the form of strong, resentful thoughts. It was as though my mind would replay situations that wound me up and I’d then get stuck in my head, mentally picking fights with the people or situations that “did me wrong”.

With Maša’s non-judgemental help, I had a space to get present with my experience. I saw that because I was having these anxious, resentful thoughts at night, they had a tendency to leak into my day. It was as if my thoughts left me in a mood funk that then became the way that I would show up to my life. Which was why I so often found myself being grumpy with others.

I wasn’t clear if my bad mood was due to a lack of good quality sleep or if I really had underlying issues with all of the people I was grumpy with, so this enquiry became the focus of my Restful Sleep coaching.

Getting curious about finding new ways

I worked with Maša to spend time getting to know the underlying beliefs that bubbled up in my thoughts in the night (that I might have been suppressing during the day) through CBTI. An example of a core belief that I had been holding was “I am everybody’s doormat”.

To counteract that, Maša helped me work on what it meant to stand up for myself in an embodied way - finding words that were assertive and felt natural to me, as well as, crucially, how it felt in my body to truly believe what I was saying. Maša also helped me to practise saying no in a way that felt doable, gradual and safe.

We also worked on creating a specific time in the day in which I actively explore thoughts of resentment, wrote them out and created a space for them to be expressed in a way which felt safe for me.

What sleep success looks like for Deborah

After just a couple of weeks of working on this, my sleep started to become less fragmented and more reliable.

Even on the nights when I did wake up, the difference was that I knew I had a time in the day in which I can process the feelings of hurt which were bothering me. Reminding myself of that support allowed me to start drifting back to sleep more easily.

I’m happy to say that I can enjoy more consistent sleep now and I also have a new perspective on collaborating with others. When I notice feelings of resentment towards someone creeping in now, I get curious about my experience and trust in having the tools to work out what may be going on for me. This brings me more peace and ease in my everyday life, as well as more satisfying connections with the people in my life.

Deborah, UK, full-time teacher, 37

How could Restful Sleep coaching help you?

If you’re curious to find out about Restful Sleep coaching, you can find all information about the services available on the one on one one sleep coaching page. Of course, everyone’s personal situation is different, which is why you are welcome to book a free discovery call to see how Restful Sleep coaching could help with your specific sleep struggles. You’ll find the information about how to book a conversation about your sleep struggles on the one on one sleep coaching page. If you’d like to read more sleep success stories from previous clients, just click the links below.

Stay curious,


About the author

Maša Nobilo, Sleep Coach

From first-hand insomniac to certified Embodied Facilitator with training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia, the Feldenkrais Method and Embodied Yoga Principles, Maša is well-equipped to support you on journey to restful sleep.
Learn more below.

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