A good night’s sleep is so fundamental to our physical wellbeing, our ability to enjoy life and show up as our best selves each day. While the odd disrupted sleep isn’t likely to affect you too much, if you are regularly having difficulty falling asleep, or waking up in the middle of the night and unable to sleep again, it is worth making some changes and doing some further investigation to change the situation. I advise my clients to make the following changes to improve their sleep:
Establish a healthy sleep routine each evening. This includes some or all of the following:
- Cut out screens 1-2 hours before you want to go to sleep. Make sure you have attended to any emails or texts which are likely to play on your mind later on. If necessary, let people know you don’t keep your phone on after, say 8.30pm (depending on when you wish to go to sleep.)
- Engage in relaxing activities during this time instead of being on screens – read a book, have some herbal tea, clean your space, do some stretching or meditation.
- Avoid alcohol and sugar in the evening.
- Keep your caffeine intake to a minimum during the day.
Gain control of anxious thoughts. One of the most common reasons my clients tell me they have trouble sleeping is because they lay awake worrying about things and feel that they have no control over the thoughts running through their head and the anxious feelings in their body. I have the following tips:
- Before you go to bed, spend about 30 mins writing down every worrisome thought in your mind. Just get it all out on paper, regardless of how silly or crazy the thoughts seem. This brain dump is a way of transferring the energy of those thoughts onto the paper and out of your mind.
- Once you have finished this, look over what you have written and see if there are any legitimate concerns that you need to address. Make a list of actions you want to take the following day to deal with whatever you are concerned about. Resolving to take action in the areas you have influence over should help you feel more peaceful.
- Tell yourself that whatever else you are concerned about can wait until tomorrow. There is nothing more you can do tonight, and you can let it go. It will all be waiting for you in the morning if you choose to reengage with it then.
- Try hypnotherapy. If rumination and endless worry is a problem for you, hypnotherapy is incredibly helpful to assist you in gaining more control over your thoughts and feelings, because we are able to address these patterns at the subconscious level.
Exercise and fresh food. Is your body getting enough vigorous movement throughout the day? How about fresh air? How about nutritious food? Your body is a whole system, and needs to be treated as such. If you aren’t very
physically active it is worth adding this to your daily routine in a way that is as enjoyable as possible for you. Hypnotherapy can assist you to change your daily habits and increase your motivation to exercise and eat healthy foods.
Make your bedroom a comfortable inviting space. It’s worth taking the time to declutter and tidy your bedroom and make it a place you look forward to being. Perhaps indulge in a new bedspread, comfortable pillow, pot plants or other decorations that are aesthetically pleasing. The idea is for your bedroom to be a calm and inviting place that offers refuge from daily life.
Get a medical check up. I always advise my clients to see a GP to ensure that there isn’t a medical issue that needs to be addressed, such as sleep apnea, or hormonal or thyroid issues which can affect sleep.
Many people have successfully been able to change their sleep habits and routines, and become excellent sleepers. Keep making small changes until you find what works best for you.