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Soothing left over break-up feelings

When Nikolina’s sleep and self care suffered after a tough break-up, she found peace through exploring difficult feelings and creating a fresh routine.

Image to represent Nikolina struggling to sleep after a break up, before she got Restful Sleep coaching

Sleep struggles after a break-up

A particularly rough patch of insomnia crept into my life about six months ago after a sudden break-up. I had low energy and all I wanted to do was rest, to the point of having apathy for my own well-being.

As a freelance journalist, I had freedom over my working days so I got by doing the minimum work possible to bring some ease. I lost interest in social events and retreated into myself, relaxing by binging on Netflix and scrolling social media for some distraction or entertainment.

Whilst I spent plenty of time in bed, around nine hours per night, I was only sleeping for around five or six hours per night, often less. My mind was active during the night and I couldn’t resist ruminating on my break-up. I would desperately look for a new angle or hypothesis when Googling break-up articles, even though it brought me turmoil.

My mind was racing at night with thoughts about the break-up - “if only I did this…”, or “when they said that, maybe they actually meant…”

It took a friend expressing her concern when she stopped by my place unannounced one Sunday afternoon for me to make a change. I was embarrassed for her witnessing the build-up of unwashed dishes, as well as getting the (accurate) vibe that I hadn’t left my space for a few days and was struggling. This opened me up to the possibility of getting support for the healing and rest that I needed.

Getting clarity with Restful Sleep coaching

When I started sleep coaching with Masa, we got straight to work on the left over feelings from my break-up. We quickly identified that because the relationship ending didn’t give me much of a sense of closure, I was seemingly stuck in the narrative of the break-up. Which was ultimately robbing me of quality sleep. It became a perpetuating problem because even though I was trying to rest, I had ended up neglecting to take care of my well-being needs. I even found out there's a name for this, called revenge bedtime procrastination. i thought it sounded silly, but also took some comfort in knowing other people had similar struggles to me.

Getting curious about finding new ways

Whilst a big part of my sleep coaching with Maša had to do with getting me back on track with my health routine, what had the biggest impact for me was a part of the cognitive behaviour therapy for insomnia (CBTi) that she introduced called “stimulus control”. This is about behaviours being triggered by the presence or absence or stimulus. In my case I was avoiding what I saw as all unnecessary stimulus - including self care.

Masa helped me to realise that insomnia is not resolved by laying in bed. From there, we then worked on ways to help me separate the association I had created between my bed and unrest.

Gradually filling up my days with more activities and work meant that I was using more energy in my waking hours, giving my body a chance to start to feel more sleepy at the appropriate time. There was definitely resistance in me at first when it came to giving myself extra ‘stress’ by doing non-essential stuff. However, Masa’s care in going slowly and helping adapt activities so they felt ok ultimately led me to a sense of new possibilities. So that actually yes, a walk in the park could brighten my morning mood. And taking some old clothes to the charity shop did bring a sense of space in my apartment, as well as helping others too.

What sleep success looks like for Nikolina

After a few weeks of slowly experimenting with stimulus control I was able to reinvent my routine in a more vibrant, energised way. As a freelancer, I enjoy the predictability I have created for myself, whilst also maintaining some flexibility and freedom to be spontaneous or take on a more adventurous assignment if I have the capacity to do so.

I’m happy to report that now I have a daily routine that I enjoy, sleep comes easily as part of that. I have progressed with accepting the lingering, difficult feelings I had left over for my ex-partner thanks to Masa’s support. We worked up to exploring the root cause of my pain and finding the lessons hidden within that. Masa was skillful in bringing lightness, even bringing laughter and silliness through my tears. Working with her allowed me to reframe an experience that I found super challenging to ultimately bring me growth and revived energy for life.

Deborah, Croatia, Journalist, 33

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 in on the one on one sleep coaching page, or if you’d like to read about 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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