The Sleep School Approach
Everyone can sleep, but at certain points in our lives we experience something that causes it to be disturbed. At this point most of us naturally seek to control the situation like we would any other problem in our lives. Sadly we can’t control a natural physiological process like sleep and trying to can end up feeling like we are stuck in and endless battle with our sleep. The Sleep School recognises that it’s not that people are lacking effort, will power or motivation to overcome their insomnia, in fact the very opposite and this is exactly the problem. The more frustrated, anxious or resigned we become, the more we inadvertently interfere with this natural process and train our brains how not to sleep.
The Sleep School’s approach is centred on what good sleepers do to sleep, which is nothing more than trusting their body’s natural ability to sleep. We help clients to understand that their natural desire to want to ‘do’ things to get to sleep may well satisfy an internal desire ‘to fix’ but it could only be pushing sleep further away. Our approach teaches clients to not let the ‘controlling side’ in all of us get in the way of this natural process and how to make space for, or even play with, any fears associated with not sleeping, something that allows sleep to emerge naturally once more.
What we believe . . .
. . . that good sleep can’t be controlled and therefore learning to let go of struggling with it can paradoxically create the space needed for its return.
. . . that the normal everyday sleep variation displayed by good sleepers is an important part of creating a strong and healthy sleep / wake cycle that can cope with everyday life.
. . . that good sleep is achieved by learning how to stay in your bed with both wakefulness and your fears.
. . . that ‘sleep hygiene guidelines’ can be helpful but must be tailored to the individual to avoid them becoming a further source of sleep anxiety. For example avoiding caffeine or alcohol, exercising everyday or ritually having a cup of warm milk and a bath before bed does not guarantee a good night’s sleep and if anything can make things worse.
. . . the key to good sleep is learning to get back to living your normal life again rather than struggling with your sleep.
Who we help
The Sleep School helps anyone who struggles to get to sleep, maintain sleep, wakes up too early or simply does not sleep at all. Anyone who never feels refreshed after sleep or just can’t sleep on a Sunday night. Anyone who can’t stop their mind racing, fears going to bed or has become reliant on pills and props to sleep. Our classes attract a wide mix of people from all backgrounds, ages and ethnicity's including busy professionals, pre-pregnancy parents, new mums and dads, menopausal women, students, retirees, shift workers, medical professionals, as well as anyone with a sleep disturbing medical or psychological condition such as chronic pain, tinnitus, chronic fatigue, ME, depression and anxiety. Whether you have had your insomnia for 4 weeks or 40 years we can help.
The Science behind The Sleep School
The Sleep School pioneers a unique combination of acceptance and mindfulness based strategies to tackle insomnia. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, (ACT), is a research based psychological tool that recognises that it is often our unwillingness to experience pain and suffering that can actually promote the pain and suffering we experience. It works by teaching you how to let go of struggling with your insomnia because when you no longer fear it, fundamental changes occur leading to natural sleep. In addition, ACT aims to help you clarify your personal values and to take action on them to bring more vitality and meaning to your life in the process, rather than just spending your time trying to find a solution to your insomnia.
ACT has a substantial evidence base across a wide range of treatment interventions including anxiety, depression and stress, many of which are linked to insomnia. We are pioneering its use in chronic insomnia because we believe that a change is required in the way in which insomnia is managed.