Internal vs external focus and insomnia

I’ve blogged here before about the terrible insomnia that I have.

I can’t get to sleep, and I can’t stay asleep.

However, I discovered, quite by accident, something which seems to have some effect.

Radio 4 and BBC News 24.

I stick them on in the background with the sound low.

Now, instead of being aware of the time ticking by (being focused internally), I have something in the environment to focus on.

I’m also aware that there is a general assumption that insomniacs underestimate how much sleep they have, and whether they do actually fall asleep. Kinda consistent with this is that when I inevitably wake up, I realise, for example, “I don’t remember the news headlines at 1am. Oh, I must have been asleep!”. So, by accident I have a little external barometer of whether I’ve been asleep.

It does seem a little bizarre. Medics tell you to have a completely quiet bedroom. But I think that increases your awareness of not sleeping and focuses you on your internal environment. This seems to force your focus outwards.

I’m not one of those insomniacs who can’t sleep because I’m worrying. There is literally nothing going on between the ears other than an awareness of still being conscious. So, I imagine if you are caught up in your thoughts, sticking the radio on might work for you too. And it’s cheaper and quicker than signing up for CBT…..

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