Insomnia or irregular sleep patterns are common problems in the modern
world. Lifestyles can lead to high stress levels which can affect our sleep.
What is your sleep pattern: do you have difficulty getting to sleep, do
you wake in the night and struggle to get back to sleep, or do you wake
early and stay awake? Opinion on how much sleep we need changes regularly,
but common sense would suggest that we function better, feel better and
are healthier when we sleep well.
Because lifestyle and stress levels can impact sleep, examining these elements
can be a good place to start (see the links on my Homepage for information).
Also asking yourself if your life is in balance is a useful exercise, so
why not have a bit of fun with the Life in Balance link on my Homepage!
I think that one of the keys to good sleep is to arrive at bedtime as
relaxed as possible, not always that simple. How often are you “on the go” right
up to bedtime, collapsing into bed exhausted and stressed? Needless to
say this can have quite an impact on relationships. Learning a simple
relaxation, mindfulness or breathing technique can be really helpful,
giving us a way to feel more grounded and calm.
Here are a few simple tips to aid peaceful
1) Try to go to bed at a regular time, particularly during the week.
Is your bed comfortable? A bed/mattress usually lasts up to 10 years. Are
your pillows firm, if you balance one on your arm does it flop either side?
Is your bedroom a comfortable temperature, well ventilated, and is it dark
4) Avoid stimulants such as coffee, cigarettes, alcohol or non-herbal
tea for 2-3 hours before bedtime. Alcohol is a stimulant and disturbs
your R.E.M sleep.
5) Avoid over stimulating television programmes or reading
material (violent, aggressive, emotionally distressing etc.) before bedtime.
Begin a process of “winding down” well before bedtime.
Try the following:
a A relaxing bath with aromatherapy oils and/or scented candles. Lavender
and jasmine are good.
b A warm milky drink before bed.
c A short period of relaxation: self-hypnosis, meditation or a simple
d Complete “rituals” (i.e teeth cleaning etc.) well before
7) If you have things on your mind, make a list on paper before
bedtime and tell yourself you will deal with them tomorrow.
8) If you are
unable to get to sleep or get back to sleep:
a Don’t lie in bed unable to sleep for longer than 20 minutes. Get
up, make a milky drink/herbal tea, then go to another room and read something
bland until you feel tired. Then go back to bed.
b Once back in bed you can use self- hypnosis, EFT or a relaxation technique
to help you get back to sleep.
c “Tossing and turning” reinforces the idea of bed as a place
to worry rather than a place to sleep.
9) Do some light exercise in the
evening (at the gym or a walk etc.).
It may be worth reflecting on how much energy you put into stressful areas
of your life, and how much into relaxation. Like anything else, relaxation
needs commitment to achieve results