Acceptance is key

Many of us will at times suffer from poor sleep. And I find any insights on how to improve sleep are usually gratefully received.

There is a lot of advice available on how to replace thoughts and behaviours that are keeping us awake with thoughts and behaviours that increase the chance of sleeping. It’s advice based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT for short.

But I was struck with a new approach, described as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy or ACT for short. Here the focus is on accepting the thoughts, feelings and sensations that go with lying awake. Rather than ‘battling’ against our wakefulness, instead we simply accept it as it is. ‘Letting go’ of the struggle to get to sleep can help restore the natural biological process.

It’s actually a practice at the heart of mindfulness: accepting things as they are. And there are rich rewards as we – often courageously – do this.

This is Mindful Monday on 17 May 2021.