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For anyone who is feeling burnt out and overwhelmed and wants to get back on track.


For anyone that consistently struggles to switch off and feels guilty taking time off.


For anyone that is juggling numerous roles and responsibilities in their life, who wants to feel in control.


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Why eliminating your Imposter Syndrome is vital for better sleep

May 24, 2023
Watt Coaching leaves

If you’re reading this, it’s likely you’ve heard many of the common tips and tricks to help improve your sleep…

  • Power down an hour before bed
  • Avoid caffeine after noon
  • Eat 2-3 hours before bed time

They are all great bits of advice!

Doing these things will definintely help to optimise the natural rhythm of your body.

Or, put another way, using screens before bed, drinking caffeine in the afternoon and evening, and eating close to bedtime are all surefire ways to reduce the amount and quality of shuteye that you get.

Now some might say that lack of sleep doesn’t affect them.

That they can cope on minimal hours of sleep. And I have no doubt that they have learnt to cope with it. I did too for many years.

But coping is very different to thriving.

Sleep is anything but a passive process. Our body is busy clearing waste products from the day, converting our memories into long term storage and enhancing our capacity to learn new information and skills.

Not only that, but sleep also plays a vital role in improving your immune system and reducing the risk of conditions such as Alzheimer’s, obesity and type 2 diabetes.

So what if, despite following all the good advice, you still can’t get to sleep?

Or, despite feeling completely exhausted, you still wake up in the middle of the night with a head full of thoughts that just won’t switch off for love nor money.

What’s the answer then?

The answer is understanding how you can better enable your brain and body to switch off.

Getting frustrated at yourself in the middle of the night won’t work (yep, I’ve been there too!).

And even waking up to write things down so you don’t forget them, or simply to get it off your mind, might not help in the long run if you’re regularly needing to do it.

To make a meaningful and long-lasting impact, you need to get underneath the superficial problems and start to look at the patterns, habits, and most importantly, the belief systems, that create it.

And that’s where your Imposter Syndrome comes in.

To explain what I mean here, I need to go back to what is stopping your brain and body from switching off when you want it to.

What’s stopping you from switching off?

In short, it is the physiological stress response being chronically active instead of switching on and off as it is designed to do.

You might better know your stress response as your fight or flight response.

It’s a normal and essential mechanism that gets activated within your brain and has an effect throughout your body to put you in the best possible state to fight or run away.

I’m probably teaching you to suck eggs here, but bear with me….

This response is designed to switch on for short periods so we can deal with the threat or danger, and then switch off again.

But the nature of our threats has changed. Being killed by a lion whilst you’re out hunting is probably not something you have to think about too regularly in your busy modern-day life.

However, what you might experience on a regular basis is:

  • Worry about how you’re going to pay the bills
  • Working long hours to try to fit in everything demanded of you
  • Relentlessly trying to keep all the balls in the air day to day.

All of these things will mean that your physiological stress response never gets to switch off.

To find out more about how and why this happens, you might want to check out the Guilt-Free page on my website here.

If your brain and body are in fight or flight mode, they think that you are in constant danger, and definitely won’t be ready to switch off and let you sleep soundly.

Instead, they’ll keep you alert, on edge and searching for danger, which you’ll probably experience as worry, catastrophising or overthinking.

And it’s likely that you’ve spent so long with this response active within you that:

1. You might not even feel stressed as such


2. It has become habitual and your system is now primed to spend long periods of time in that state. This makes it even harder to break out of it because it feels unusual and, even uncomfortable at times, to not be in that state (ever felt restless and agitated when you try to chill out and relax?!).

This is where your Imposter Syndrome comes in.

At the heart of Imposter Syndrome, there is usually a belief that no matter how much you do or how much you have achieved, you are still not good enough.

And so this keeps you continually striving for more. Sometimes this can be a good thing as it helps you to grow, get better and progress in your life, business or career.

But other times, this leaves you doing unnecessary amounts of running around because of the underlying belief that you need to prove your worth in some way.

And that is just not helpful.

Not only when it comes to allowing you to switch off and get some sleep.

But also in terms of making the best use of your time, being able to enjoy the things you do, and feeling able to take time for yourself to support your own health & wellbeing.

If this is something you’d like to tackle, I’ll be running 2 online workshops related to Imposter Syndrome in June (click the links below to find out more):

Friday 2nd June 2023 – The Perfectionist’s Downfall: The cost of having excessively high standards.

Friday 16th June – The Super Juggler: Trying to keep all the balls in the air. 

Or, if you’d like to know more about how you can optimise your sleep, the workshop you need is:

Essential maintenance to avoid adverse consequences – Friday 18th August 2023.

Click here to explore all the upcoming workshops.

Or receive all the monthly updates direct to your inbox when you sign up for my monthly newsletter here.


Written By

Jo Plimmer

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