Ep. 86: Trouble SLEEPING

Ready to change your mind about weight loss? Grab The 5-0 Method to lose all the weight you want and keep it off forever.

In today’s episode, I’m not just sharing “tips and tricks” for addressing sleep concerns, but getting to the REAL HEART of the matter.

Do you have TROUBLE SLEEPING?  It’s no secret that getting a good night’s sleep😴 is one of the best things we can do for our health and weight loss. But how can you help yourself if you wrestle with this nightmarish🧟‍♀️ issue?

In today’s episode of the Fitness Matters podcast, I’m not just sharing “tips and tricks” for addressing sleep concerns, but getting to the REAL HEART💛 of the matter. (And you might be surprised to hear what it is!)

We’re chatting about my cat Rosy😼, what I myself do that’s weirdly helpful, and the ONE THING that can change everything for you and your sleep.

Put your feet up🛌 and join me now as we discuss the stuff that dreams are made of 💤!  Let’s GO!

(Don’t wanna listen? Download the transcript here)

Find this episode on YouTube (video below) or on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, Spotify, and Google Play.


Can’t see the video? Click here to watch it on YouTube: https://youtu.be/EMgbRPdlINI

Journal for Success course

Ep. 079: “I’m Not LOSING WEIGHT”

Ep. 043: The Real PROBLEM

Ep. 084: What is a THOUGHT?

Ep. 040: Stop Thinking POSITIVELY

The 5-0 Method: WEIGHT LOSS for Women over 50

Join the Get Your GOAL Coaching + Accountability Facebook group:  https://pahlabfitness.com/get-your-goal/

Be sure to SHARE this podcast with your friends who have trouble sleeping🥱 too!  💛

Trouble SLEEPING (full transcript) 

You’re listening to the Fitness Matters Podcast with Pahla B, and this is episode number 86, “Trouble Sleeping.”

Hello, hello, hello my friends. Welcome to the Fitness Matters Podcast where every week we talk about the fitness matters that matter to you. And I know for a fact that this one matters to you. But before we even dive in, I’ve got a couple of things to tell you super quick, like housekeeping kind of things. Number one. Thank you, thank you, thank you like always for the reviews and the ratings, really specifically on iTunes. You guys, I keep noticing that I’m creeping up a teeny tiny bit on the charts. I’m still at like number 5,032 or whatever, but every time you leave me a rating and review, it helps iTunes realize that this podcast is a good thing.

It shows it to more people and then more people can listen and be helped with the things that we talk about, like trouble sleeping, for example. So thank you. Thank you so much for leaving ratings and reviews wherever you listen. I know it’s helpful on other platforms also, but I think you guys know at this point that Apple kind of rules the world. So that’s the one that I kind of focus on because it is the one that most viewers or listeners use. So thank you.

Also, really recently, I released my Journal For Success course. If you don’t already know about this, I’m going to send you to www.paulabfitness.com/journal-for-success. I put together a journaling course for you because you have asked me for it so we can do journaling together, and it is a fantastic course. I’m super proud of it. It explains everything that I talk about here on the podcast in a more coherent way because it includes things like a short video that explains different concepts that you can get one piece at a time. And then it’s got other podcasts to listen to that are all fitting in together. And there are worksheets so that you can actually put it into practice because you and I both know that all this mindset work – it’s totally helpful, totally good. But if you’re not actually practicing it, it goes nowhere. So, hey, let’s put a note to practice with your trouble sleeping, shall we?

Let’s talk about the mindset of trouble sleeping, you guys. This conversation comes up so often on The Killer B Hive Facebook page. I can’t even tell you. If I had to guess, I would say it comes up at least once a week and probably more often than that because truly I do not see every single post in The Killer B Hive. It’s gotten so big at this point that I don’t see every single one. I’m in there every day. Trust me, I’m in there every day. But I also still know that I’m missing some posts, but here’s what I know. I know that lots of us have trouble sleeping and the other day, somebody brought up the fact that they’re having trouble sleeping and asked me: What are your best tips?

And here’s the tip I left. And let me just be 100% transparent here. I left this tip because I don’t actually answer questions in The Killer B Hive because I have a live Q&A almost every week. And so I purposely do not answer questions, but this one I couldn’t leave alone. And so I left a very short answer and I thought about it as soon as I left the answer that it sounded very glib. But what I said was, “Here’s my best tip. Manage your mindset.” And a person that I actually know fairly well left a comment that I took very well. And I hope that it ended up sounding to everybody else who read it as a respectful conversation because I have a lot of respect for the person who left the comment, and I’m not going to mention this person by name because I didn’t ask permission to do so. And I really respect everybody’s privacy.

But this person left a comment saying “I’ve heard you say that before. And the thing is, I just don’t understand what you’re saying. Are you trying to tell me that I’m not tired? Are you trying to tell me not to tell myself that I’m sleepy and that I’m crabby and that it is difficult, and that I’m physically having trouble with other things in my life because I don’t sleep well?” And I promised that person in the conversation that I would respond in an entire podcast because I feel like this is something that . . .  You know, sometimes things don’t translate well in a text or a post. And this is where we get into arguments. I feel like if I were to write this response, that it would still essentially sound like me saying, “Yeah, tell yourself that you’re not tired.”

And I don’t want it to come off that way. Like that actually isn’t what I’m saying even though it’s kind of what I’m saying. So being able to have my vocal inflection, I feel like this will hopefully land in a way that you can hear because I don’t want to argue with you. I really don’t. I mean, I 100% absolutely agree with you saying that you have trouble sleeping, but – and here’s where it sounds like an argument – that thought isn’t helpful. And this is my job as your life coach, because I am, by the way. I don’t know if you knew that. You have hired me as your life coach by turning on this podcast. Any episode you’ve listened to, I am now officially your life coach. My job as your life coach is to point out to you, not whether or not what you’re saying is true. It doesn’t matter if it’s true. I am pointing out to you whether or not what you are saying to yourself is helpful.

When you say, “I have trouble sleeping,” it doesn’t help you. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that it harms you. It hinders you from reaching your full potential. Here’s what happened to me about a year ago. My elderly cat, Rosie, whom I’m looking at right now, started waking up in the night, like a baby. And I mean that literally. Like she wakes up every two to three hours, and she demands food. She meows. She scratches me. She demands attention every two to three hours. And I, because I am the one who gets up with her except on weekends when I make my husband get up with her, I am the one who got up with her. And I started realizing that this was some sort of universal truth in the world that I was having trouble sleeping because I was getting up so many times in the night, and I was very tired, and I was very crabby, and I let it really bother me because it sucked.

Not getting a full night’s sleep is very difficult. It is one of the things that I ask you to do for the 5-0 Method because it’s really good for you. It’s good for weight loss. It’s good for your body. Your body needs to repair itself. Absolutely, sleep is critical. But I wasn’t getting very good sleep. I’m getting up several times a night and sometimes I have to pee even when Rosie isn’t trying to wake me up and sometimes Blossom [Pahla’s dog] gets up because Blossom is now elderly too. She’s going to be 14 in a month or two from when you hear this. Everybody in my house is old at this point, except for Agatha. And she’s like six or seven now. So she’s an adult cat also.

So I realized that I was having trouble sleeping, and I started really worrying about it. I was like, oh my gosh, how many times am I going to get up in the night? And then I started having trouble falling asleep because I was so worried about how I wasn’t going to be able to sleep. And it was really bothersome. And I realized that it wasn’t helping me to think that I was having trouble sleeping. It wasn’t helping me to lie in bed thinking I am having trouble falling asleep. It doesn’t matter if your thoughts are true. You could, in a court of law, prove that you get X number of hours of sleep a night. You could prove that each night you wake up 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 times. You could prove I was awake between this hour and this hour. There are things about your sleep habits that are truthful, but we don’t always talk about them like that.

In episode 79, “I’m Not Losing Weight” (Ep. 079 “I’m Not Losing Weight” https://getyourgoal.com/podcasts/79-not-losing-weight/), we talked about what you could prove and what you can’t prove. Now the thing with your weight is that it fluctuates all the time because you are a biological specimen. You cannot prove whether or not you are losing weight. You actually can’t. Over time, you can see a trend in your weight, but you literally cannot say something truthful about your weight except that this morning at such and such time when I stepped on the scale, this is the reading it gave me. And this is what I’m going to caution you about when you think that you have trouble sleeping.

The word “trouble” is not factual. It is not a truth that you can prove. I would much rather you think about your sleep in very concrete terms. I got 3 hours and 37 minutes of sleep last night. Now again, you’re still going to have a story around that. Like that’s not enough. I feel tired. This is problematic. You’re still going to have lots of thoughts about that, but when we can get very fact-y about what is truly going on, it does help us get one layer of separation between what is going on and our story about what is going on. Because your story is your thoughts. And I would encourage you to have helpful thoughts rather than thoughts that are not helpful. I’m having trouble sleeping is not a helpful thought. I’m tired. Again, it sounds very factual, but it’s not provable in a court of law. It’s still an opinion, and again, not helpful.

What I’m going to encourage you to do to help yourself – not necessarily even sleep better. Truly, having better thoughts about sleeping isn’t automatically going to help you sleep better. But having a helpful thought about the sleep that you do get will help you. It’s right there in the word, it’s “helpful.” It’s a helpful thought. It will help you not feel so burdened by it, not feel so troubled by it, and not have so much problem from it. And I know that when we think about something that is a problem, it’s very clearly a problem. We don’t always realize that the problem is that we think it’s a problem. In fact, here’s where I’m going to refer you to episode 43, “The Real Problem” (Ep. 043 The Real Problem https://pahlabfitness.com/the-real-problem/).

My friends there’s actually no such thing as a problem. I know. I know that’s going to be hard to wrap your mind around if you’ve never heard me talk about this kind of thing before. Things exist. There are things that happen, things we do, things people say, things we say, gravity, physics, biology, et cetera. There are facts and things that happen in the world. And then there are things that we think about those things that happen in the world. Now here’s the thing. Our brain is constantly thinking like literally all the time (60,000 thoughts a day!). We are constantly interpreting everything we see, everything we smell, everything we hear, everything we touch, everything we taste, everything we do, everything everybody else does. We are interpreting the world constantly. All we do is interpret. All we do is think thoughts, which, by the way, at this point I’m going to direct you to episode 84 (Ep. 084 What is a Thought? https://getyourgoal.com/podcasts/84-what-is-a-thought/).  Everything that we think is actually an interpretation of events or consequences or words or things.

There is no such thing as a problem because everybody interprets things differently. And I know that this is where sometimes when I say something like, “Manage your mindset, and you’ll be fine,” it feels like I’m interpreting your problem as not a problem. And it can feel that way because we have thoughts about that. It may feel like I don’t understand. And it’s why I’m telling you the story about Rosie. And it might sound to you – because I am not telling you that I have a problem sleeping right now – like Rosie has stopped waking me up in the night. No such thing has happened. I still wake up at least two or three times in the night. What has changed is my thought. I think that I go to bed at seven o’clock most of the time. And I know some of you are like, “What?” I know. I go to bed really early. I get up really early. I think about my sleep in these terms. I go to bed at seven o’clock. I’m up for the day at 3:30. And that is what I think about my sleep habits.

I go to bed at a certain time. I get out of bed at a certain time. Sometimes my sleep is absolutely better than others. Sometimes my sleep is worse than others. Sometimes I wake up three times in the night. Sometimes I don’t. None of those interpretive thoughts are helpful to me. When I spend even one second telling myself that I’m not sleeping enough, that it’s a problem, that I’m tired, those thoughts are not going to lead me to anything productive. Those thoughts, in fact, lead me to feeling sorry for myself. And I got to tell you, I have an advanced degree in feeling sorry for myself. I spent many, many years at the school of “Woe is Paula.” I have no problem slipping right into that mode very easily as constantly as possible.

And let me tell you what happens when I feel sorry for myself: almost nothing. I do nothing. Feeling sorry for myself is a showstopper. I sit on the couch. Woe is me. I look back at all of the things in my life that somebody else did wrong by me. It is a constant Netflix of evidence, of all the ways in which my life sucks. When I start thinking things like that, those thoughts aren’t helpful to me. If I want to be productive in my day, if I want to get something done, if I want to do something that requires me to be well rested, then I better not be thinking that I’m not. Here’s the thing. I know. I know that this is one of those things that has a physical element to it. It is indeed more difficult to lose weight when you do not sleep and get your recovery time. It is indeed more difficult to get on with your day if you are not well rested. Your body needs the physical repair of sleep. I’m not denying you that. I’m not.

But here I go, denying that, because thinking about it that way isn’t helpful. Telling yourself that it’s a problem creates the problem. I tell myself that I go down each night and I get up each morning at certain times. I tell myself that I am going to get done as much as I can today, that I’m going to accomplish what I can in the way that I can. I use really specific language that my brain can interpret either way because here’s the thing. When I say I go to bed at seven o’clock, I absolutely do. Do I fall asleep at seven o’clock? Very rarely. “I go to bed at seven o’clock” is factual. It’s true. It’s believable. It’s helpful. I go to bed at seven o’clock. The fact that I don’t fall asleep at seven o’clock, that I don’t get eight hours of sleep every night, that my sleep is interrupted – those thoughts aren’t helpful.

So I choose to think a thought that is true and believable and helpful in a way that my brain doesn’t want to argue with. When I say I go to bed at seven o’clock, my brain absolutely agrees with that. If I were trying to tell myself that I go to sleep at seven o’clock, my brain would be like, “No, you didn’t. Last night, you were up till 8, 9:30, tossing and turning and trying to fall asleep. You had trouble falling asleep.” Therefore, I very carefully choose my words. This is what mind management is, you guys. Mind management isn’t trying to convince yourself of something that’s not true. It’s trying to find the words that will achieve what you want to achieve in a way that is believable to your brain.

What I want to achieve when I talk about my own sleep is I want to achieve helpful thoughts. I want to feel like I’m doing what I can to be as productive as I can and just get on with my day as well as I can. I want to feel that I am managing my mind, managing my body, living my life, doing all the things that I can to the best of my ability. The phrase “I go to bed at seven o’clock” does all of those things. It’s true. It’s believable. It’s helpful. When you manage your mind, you are not telling yourself an untruth. And that really is problematic. We’ve talked about this so many times. I’m going to refer you now to episode 40 (Ep. 040 Stop Thinking Positively https://pahlabfitness.com/stop-thinking-positively). I refer to this episode many times. In this instance, trying to simply tell yourself, “I’m well rested. I get eight hours of sleep a night” is not going to be helpful at all.

Remember our goal here is to think something helpful. It helps if it’s true. Absolutely. Because your brain won’t automatically argue with it. When you say to yourself, “I get a great night’s sleep,” but you know you don’t because you’ve already determined that you have interpreted whatever amount of sleep that you do get is not enough, it’s not good. It’s a problem. It’s “trouble sleeping.” You’re going to just argue with yourself. Arguing with yourself is not helpful either. Remember, managing your mind is about being helpful. Your goal is not necessarily to be Pollyanna. Your goal isn’t to be the most happy, positive person in the world. Your goal isn’t to tell yourself lies. Your goal isn’t to do any of those things that sound so nice and so cheerful and so chipper. Your goal is to simply help yourself. Being helpful is a little bit quieter than being positive and awesome and onboard with everything. Being helpful means that you’re going to get where you’re going.

When you read my instructions in the 5-0 Method, which by the way, you can find at www.pahlabfitness.com/weight-loss-over-fifty . . .  It’s my free ebook that talks all about losing weight that I refer to somewhat constantly. And you may not have access to it yet. And now you do. It’s in the show notes. In that book, when I tell you to get enough sleep, to sleep adequately, you’ll notice I did not put a number on that. Lots of people ask me about that all the time. What’s adequate sleep? Well, how much sleep am I aiming for? You’re aiming to sleep as much as you can in a way that feels helpful. And that means you might need to manage your mind about it. If your body behaves in a certain way, your brain will offer you an interpretation. Lots of times, those interpretations aren’t helpful.

When you can think a helpful thought, it almost doesn’t matter what your body’s doing. And I know that that is the thing that you’re going to . . .  This to me was the thing that I had the hardest time wrapping my mind around about almost everything truly. Go back to listen to any of the things that I have referenced, specifically “I’m Not Losing Weight (I think that’s the one where I talked about how “I’m busy” was the thought, the pervasive thought that just felt like the most truthful thing in the world for me. And in fact, for quite some time, “I’m having trouble sleeping” also felt very truthful, very real. I could not imagine another way of thinking about it until I sat down and really specifically asked myself whether or not what I was thinking was helpful.

My friends, you have the power to think something helpful about your sleep habits. What is that? I would love for you to brainstorm and this is where we get into the practical thing. Here is where you can journal, but I’m going to call it brainstorming because I know when I was talking to you about the Journal for Success thing, sometimes we have this block about the word “journal.” Like it has to look a certain way. It has to be a certain way. I have to sit down with my nice notebook and write for an hour and things like that. For me personally, sometimes my journaling just looks like me making a list. In fact, it very frequently looks like me making a list. That’s why I tell you to make lists all the time. Making a list doesn’t feel like journaling, but it totally is. It is asking your brain to come up with a new way of thinking about something. Brainstorm a list of helpful things that you can say to yourself about your sleep habits.

And then you can double check them, do a little gut check on it because here’s the thing. You might think it’s helpful to say, “I sleep beautifully every night with no problems.” But then when you say that to yourself and it’s like, no, you don’t, then that’s not really a helpful thought. It’s actually just asking your brain to argue with itself. What can you say to yourself that feels helpful? And you’re welcome to borrow my thought. I go to bed at such and such time. And I get up for my day at such and such time. To me, it’s factual and clear, and frankly, intentionally vague because I’m not saying I fall asleep. I’m not staying asleep the whole time. Being intentionally vague with myself is weirdly helpful because it feels true. It feels believable. It feels calm. It feels like I’m doing what I can. I go to bed, and I get up for my day.

I would love to hear your thoughts. I would love to hear your thoughts that you’re having right now about your sleep. And I would love to hear what you’re going to tell yourself that feels helpful. You guys, thank you so much for listening. I’ll talk to you again soon.

So are you totally loving this mindset work and you really want to do it like every day in order to get your goal? Then, my friend, you need to join the Get Your Goal group. It is my personal and private, very interactive coaching and accountability group, where every day we talk about your mindset and we get your goal. You can learn all about it at pahlabfitness.com/get-your-goal. I’ll see you in the goal group.

Listen to the full episode here, and be sure to leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts.

Originally aired July 18, 2021
In today’s episode, I’m not just sharing “tips and tricks” for addressing sleep concerns, but getting to the REAL HEART of the matter.
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Meet Your Host

Mindset expert and certified life coach Pahla B knows a thing or two about changing your mind to change your weight and your life. She’s the creator of The 5-0 Method, Amazon-best selling author of the book “Mind Over Menopause,” and former yo-yo dieter who has cracked the code on lifelong weight maintenance. Join Pahla B each week for the personal insights, transformative mindset shifts, and science-backed body advice that can help you lose all the weight you want and keep it off forever.