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Ask Eleanor
Ask Eleanor, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1517
Experience:  Marriage & Family Therapist/Prof. Counselor for 20 years
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What can I do to get me to go to sleep early? I am very active

Customer Question

What can I do to get me to go to sleep early? I am very active with a business, projects, I have been using to-do lists effectively, I am organized so I don't have insomnia. My problem is that I get to passionate on whatever I'm doing that I always find myself working in to the morning because I get such a high from the momentum and flow of ideas that I just keep on going until it's done. Then I'll sleep like a bear for like 15 hours and then I do the same thing again. I don't want to do this anymore because it conflicts with my employees schedules and the rest of the world because. Sometimes I'm going 110% but it's like 3am and everyone is asleep so it's very inconvenient at time. Thanks BTW I think this is more of a mental question than of a physical I am because I'm healthy. I just need to associate enough pain to not going to sleep early but in the moment the pleasure of finishing my task far outweighs anything else. It's like I'm addicted to it. I've achieved amazing things but not having control of that is very frustrating.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Ask Eleanor replied 4 years ago.
Hello, I am here for you and am happy to respond. Yes, your brain has become addicted to this sleep pattern. You will need something to break this pattern in your brain. You certainly sound like someone who likes to be in control, so what I am going to recommend may be a bit difficult for you at first, but it works! It is Guided Imagery for Sleep. You put on a CD and surrender to the narrator, the difficult part! And it is paradoxical as you surrender in order to gain control of your sleep patterns. Here is the link where you may read about the CD "Healthful Sleep" and even hear a sample. While I have no affiliation with Belleruth Naparstek, I did attend a workshop with her recently and her work is phenomenal and extremely successful. I highly recommend this tape. It is inexpensive and you can use it without the help of a coach or therapist. It has been my pleasure to answer your question. Chat back if you need anything further. If you are satisfied with my answer, please give me a positive rating and click on submit. I wish you a healthy sleep pattern, take care, Eleanor
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hello Eleanor,

Thank you for your kind response. I can see how something like this would work and I will definitely check it out. I think my biggest challenge here would be to actually get myself to stop doing whatever I'm working on. Once I shutdown I can go home and sleep. But, it's letting go of my task without finishing it that I'm having the hardest time. I tell myself 20 more mins, and then 10 more mins, and then, I start negotiating with myself and before you know it I'm like well it's already late anyways one more day is not going to kill me and what a great difference it will make if I just finish this one thing. I feel like an overweight person who cannot stop eating cookies. I've defined 11 crucial points during my daily schedule but the hardest one is this one, letting go and wrapping it up for the day. It's not sleeping that I have a problem is stopping.
Expert:  Ask Eleanor replied 4 years ago.
Good to hear back from you and you are very welcome. I now fully understand your problem. I actually thought you were working at home. A very simple behavioral intervention should help you stop working and go home. Get a giant, loud alarm clock and put it in your office. Set it for the time you want to stop working and go home. When the alarm goes off don't hit snooze or turn it off. Get up out of your chair and pack up while it is still going off. Only turn if off when you are ready to go out the door. This will short circuit your brain's program that keeps you working. Once you are home, you may still want to have the tape in case you have difficulty falling asleep. Since you usually exhaust yourself before retiring, it may not be as easy when you are not so tired. I believe the alarm clock will work well for you. Let me know if you need anything further. Good luck, Eleanor
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I think that sounds like a fantastic idea, thank you for your detailed response I greatly appreciate it!

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