Dealing With Obsessive Compulsive Behavior – 5-Step Guide For A Good Night Rest

dealing with obsessive compulsive behavior

Can dealing with obsessive compulsive behavior lead to a better sleeping pattern?

One word, “Yes!”

Obsessive compulsive behavior can lead you to check to see if your door is locked or if the stove is off, and some people even have to make their blanket stay on a specific way throughout the night. Imagine how many times these individuals must wake up?

Relaxing after a long can be pretty tough when you are constantly checking in your head to make sure nothing went wrong, or some ritual you do at bedtime wasn’t’ done right.

I can’t even imagine the stress or anxiety this must induce!

How Will Getting Rid Of These Obsessive Compulsive Actions Help With Bedtime?

  • You will reduce your anxiety
  • You will wake up feeling rejuvenated
  • You will reduce your blood pressure
  • You will have less body pain
  • You will get more control over your sleep
  • You will improve your memory
  • You will live longer
  • You will curb inflammation
  • You will become more creative

What Is Obsessive Compulsive Behavior?

Obsessive-compulsive behavior is the continuous repetition of action without it leading to an actual reward or pleasure.

Sometimes people will do the action over and over hoping that they can make the obsession go away. The action is usually small, but sometimes can be life-threatening.

Over 2% of the world population suffers from obsessive compulsive behavior. People that suffer from this kind of disorder are usually more secretive. Hence they find no relief from it, which then goes on hinder their sleep due to the stress it causes.

The Signs Of This Obsessive Compulsive Manner Are:

  • Tapping your fingers
  • Order or constant shopping online
  • Saying words over and over
  • Repeating unwanted actions
  • Rechecking over and over
  • Constant counting
  • Repeatedly cleaning a room over and over
  • Washing hands frequently
  • Continually checking the stove or door locks
  • Rearranging furniture to face a certain way
  • Performing a bedtime ritual

Types of Obsessive Compulsive Behavior

  • Shopping Online

Approximately 80% of those who suffer from shopping online behavior are women. This fulfills their need to own products.shopping online

Most likely, the purchases that are made during this behavior are never used or worn. They are purchased just because the thought to buy exists.

After such product purchase, there can even be guilt, which then leads to more shopping. This process can go on all night.

  • Hoarding

This is where a person has issues with throwing items away. The major problem with hoarding is that the person does not have the space to store all items. This could pose a danger to them or others as it may block exits which are essential if there was an emergency to get out.

Hoarders typically horde clothing, newspaper items, containers, junk mail, books, and craft items. Most hoarders believe that whatever they are storing may be useful in the future.

For some, it can be fear of losing something that’s very valuable to them. The stress of living in an environment which is overloaded with items can create anxiety, which leads to poor sleeping habit.

  • Eating

Most people overeat when they are dealing with stress.

Some overeat because as a child they might not have gotten much food to eat. These people tend to think, “Might as well eat right now who knows when the food is going to run out.” They are afraid that they might not have enough tomorrow.

Many times people who struggle with constant eating have not developed the proper coping skills to deal with emotional/mental issues. They indulge in binges where they eat until they can’t eat any more or until the compulsion has passed.

Usually most indulging happens late at night in secret. Not only is indulging in unhealthy health-wise, but it can also cause sleep disturbances or acid reflux, which makes sleep impossible.

  • Gambling

Once again, a night time activity, gambling takes place when a person is stressed out, or they are trying to create an outlet for repressed anger. Most gamblers run into issues with those close to them as well as the law.

Due to lack of money, these people try their luck at gambling. They might have a lucky chance and win a little bit of money; they invest that money right back into another gamble. The cycle continues.

It can go on all night long. When this happens, sleep takes a backseat even though they may feel dead tired; they are always going to keep trying because the compulsion demands it of them.

  • Nail-biting/Skin Picking

This is where a person causes harm to themselves. Sometimes they will bite their nails until they are bleeding other times pick their skin until they can physically see blood.

These individuals never let their nails grow long enough or their skin to scab over. Some even pick hair off their head until there are bald spots.

This behavior leaves behind permanent marks. The anxiety of not seeing their nails grow or their skin looking damaged leads them to perform the action over and over again. It happens especially at night where they can do this in private, doesn’t matter if it causes them pain or not.

  • Checking/Counting/Washing

Here there is the need to check locks continuously to make sure that they are indeed locked. Others need to count to a certain number, if for any reason they mess up they will restart their counting.counting pennies

Some people have issues with washing their hands over and over. Sometimes they wash them to the point till the skin on their hands dries out.

It’s a compulsion they cannot get past, so another behavior that can go on all night long. The fear it induces in them will have them going through their home to make all doors are locked. Often these individuals will second guess themselves, and off they go to recheck door and window locks.

After reading all this and understanding more about this behavior are you ready to start getting over this type of behavior, if so then let the 4-step guide help you?

What Is The 5-Step Guide To Overcoming This Negative/Harmful Behavior Which Disrupts Your Sleep

Step One

What you would need to do here is select the compulsion behavior you want to work on.

Step Two

Most times, the compulsions are associated with external triggers, so make sure to take note of the triggers.

For instance, nail-biting compulsion only takes place when nails have reached a certain length.

Step Three

Now you will need to identify the reasons of why you act on your obsessive compulsive thoughts which disrupt you when you are trying to get some sleep.

For example, maybe you want to work on skin picking.

  • What is about the skin which makes you want to pick it?
  • What has to happen for you to want to pick your skin?
  • What feelings do you experience when you want to pick your skin?

 Make sure to take note of sensations you experience. Are they subtle or intense? Do they cause tingling or pressure? Are you even conscious of them?

Step Four

 Now use your imagination to make the sensations of having to perform the action even more intense then it may have been before.

For instance, maybe you saw your nails grow a certain length; now let them grow another inch or so. You may need to feel like you need to bite your nails but resist the temptation to bite them.

Step Five

Keep repeating step 4 until you feel like you no longer have the feeling of wanting to do the compulsive behavior action. Keep in mind, the more extreme you make the sensation, the more effect it will have on the action you are trying to be rid of.

Once you feel bored or desensitized, you will need to test for real. If your realism passes the need to act, you have successfully overcome the obsessive compulsive behavior.

Final words

When I worked with clients who had sleep issues, the one thing I recommended was getting a light therapy box. It creates a feeling of security which is something people dealing with obsessive compulsive behavior are often found lacking.

 Note: If your behavior needs more than what this guide can provide, please find a good therapist who will help you move forward.

Please let me know in comments if you find this obsessive-compulsive behavior guide helpful.

jagi

Reading is my favorite thing to do. But other than reading, I enjoy discovering new techniques on how to do something in simpler methods. My daughter likes to call me the Renaissance woman. So I do have to live up to the name. One of my main issues is sleeping, so I'm always searching for new ways to get a good night sleep, I'm more than happy to share them with you. My posts are either geared towards pain or self-help. Pain posts because I suffer from ongoing cancer pain. In the past 6 years of my fight with cancer, I have learned many ways to deal with pain, especially when going to bed. The self-help posts come from my work as a mental health counselor for over 15+ years. My background in counseling training is from UFV and RRU. I also have personal trainer certification from IFA, so I might throw in some exercise posts as well.

View all posts by jagi →

10 thoughts on “Dealing With Obsessive Compulsive Behavior – 5-Step Guide For A Good Night Rest

  1. This is very interesting.  I feel that most human beings have one or two OCD tendencies.  

    For example, I will go back and check I unplugged my straightener four or five times before leaving my house.  I have also seen people check they locked their door repeatedly.  A tip I used to stop checking my straightener was, I added an extra step to my routine.  

    I would unplug my straightener and wrap three hair bands around the straightener before moving it to my bedroom to cool off on my work desk.  When I went to leave my house, I would be able to remember putting the three hair ties on the straightener and physically walking it into my room.  This helped reassure my mind I had completed the task, therefore stopping the compulsion to check my behavior was complete.  

    Sometimes routine behaviors become so ingrained they are like second nature.  We need to mix things up a bit.  Anyway, this is what worked for me.  I can’t wait to try your method on some other behaviors I would like to change.

    Thanks for your advice!

    1. Wow! What a creative way to change your behavior, by replacing it with a positive inducing behavior. Thanks for sharing. 

  2. Henderson says:

    I do have sleepless nights and I didn’t know that there was anything that are called Obsessive Compulsive Behavior. I do some of this things at night when I can’t sleep and I thought that it was related to stress from work. I check around the house and sometimes I just walk around. I feel I need to carry out those steps you have written down here and see how it helps me. I’ll be back with my feedback. Thank you for the help on this compulsive behaviour.

    1. Please do return with your feedback as well thanks for sharing your experience. 

  3. Christian says:

    Interesting article.  I am definitely a nail biter and have been doing it since I was very small.  Most of the time, I don’t even notice that I’m doing it!  I will try out your tips! 

    Just an idea for a possible topic.  Blue light from screens can interfere with our sleep patterns.  Wearing blue light protected glasses in the hours before going to bed can help you to fall asleep faster.

    1. Thank you for the suggestion of the new topic, will research and write about it. My daughter used to bite her nails as well, she was able to overcome it when she noticed the skin started bleeding and drying out. 

  4. Wayne Parker says:

    What a great and helpful article.  

    My obsessive compulsive behavior is playing games on my phone before bed.  It’s not like I enjoy the games – it’s just that I’m used to doing it.  And it keeps me up.  It’s a bad cycle, and one I need to get off.  I am going to try your five step program beginning tonight.  Wish me luck!

    1. I play games too. Especially at night, but I only myself 30 minutes. Otherwise, the mind gets excited, and then keep goings. And before you know, it is 3 in the morning. 

      Wishing you all the best in developing new technqiues for sleep. 

  5. Oh my gosh. This is so relevant to what I have been doing recently. I have been sleeping very late recently and feeling pretty tired throughout the day. I think the biggest thing targeting me may be the hoarding issue. I personally never want to throw away my old things. I always think something useful is going to come out of them in the future or that I’m going to use them again. This especially applies to my childhood toys. I always think that I’m going to play with them again despite being much older now. I guess it really is time to do a cleanup and donate all the toys away. Thanks for revealing something that I never thought would be affecting my sleep!

    1. Hoarding is an issue for those who feel the need to hold on. My motto is if I haven’t used something for 3 months, it goes in the trash. It helps to keep a clean house, plus I can sleep a little less anxious. 

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