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Wish I Could Sleep

restOnce you stop sleeping, everything changes.

Then begins a cascade of side effects — irritability, low energy, changes in eating habits, maybe weight gain, difficulty with concentration, alertness, memory. You can begin to look old before your time, and you may get sick more often. 

Sleep is extremely important to optimal physical and mental function.

We women lose a lot of sleep and for many reasons. 

If you have a baby or small children, you know what I’m talking about. If you are caregiving for a loved one, such as a parent, sibling or patient, their needs can weigh heavily, directly and indirectly.

Sometimes, we lose sleep because we are thinking too much. Yes, I said thinking too much.

What happened at work today … what didn’t happen at work today … all the things I have tomorrow … dreading this … what I said … what she said … he didn’t call … what did I do? … what if … should I or shouldn’t I … I’m so worried about … and on … and on.

We lose sleep because our minds are operating in overdrive.

In my book, Stop Giving It Away, I cover the “giveaway-isms” felt and experienced by many women. Before we go into the trouble spots, let’s rule out some other factors that can affect your sleep. 

First look at your lifestyle patterns. Experts say these hurt sleep—alcohol use, busyness before bedtime, emotionally arousing media and noise, caffeine, medication, heavy meals, exercise. Once that’s out of the way, work through the emotional aspects of life and stress we can’t avoid. 

The trouble spots

  • Not paying attention to your emotions
  • Not knowing how you feel
  • Not honoring your emotions in decision making
  • Letting emotions completely dictate how you live your life
  • Discounting or invalidating your feelings
  • Listening and believing in negative self-talk
  • Allowing others to dictate your mood
  • Not getting help for emotional pain when you need it
  • Not asking for support
  • Not being open to guidance and direction from appropriate sources

If you don’t think you’ve had good and true rest in a while, it’s important to find solutions and deal with what might be interfering.

Clients of mine have found these ideas helpful.

  • Seek a therapist to help you deal with any difficulties you might be facing. 
  • Seek support through other paths, such as your clergy, when helpful.
  • Try joining a twelve-step group.
  • Talk about your feelings with an empathetic listener.
  • Deal with trauma from your past through psychological work.
  • Ask for support when you need it.
  • Learn how to tune in your feelings.
  • Recognize what you’re feeling, and use that to help you make decisions.
  • Detach from others when they are toxic and not helpful.

I’m also a big believer in the power of prayer and intentionally “handing it over” to the power that’s larger than ourselves. Try it.

What causes you to lose sleep? What helps you sleep better?

Peace and take care, cherilynnvelandSM

Cherilynn Veland is a therapist living in Chicago. She also blogs about home, work, life and love at She is author of the book Stop Giving It Away.

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Wish I Could Sleep

Cherilynn Veland, LCSW, MSW

Cherilynn Veland, MSW, LCSW, is a counselor and coach based in Chicago. She has been helping individuals, couples and families for more than 20 years. She is author of Stop Giving It Away, a book about developing healthier relationships with yourself and others. The Stop Giving It Away movement aims to stop the detrimental level of self-sacrifice in which many women live and work. Winner of the 2015 National Indie Excellence Book Award in the Women's Issues category - Stop Giving It Away.

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APA Reference
, . (2016). Wish I Could Sleep. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 31, 2020, from


Last updated: 2 Aug 2016
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