Are you permanently feeling exhausted?
Perhaps you feel that you’re always in a bad mood?
Possibly you’re feeling overwhelmed and don’t feel strong enough to do anything about it?
The likelihood is then, that you do not have a healthy sleep routine.
Sleep is very much part of everyday life and when things are going well, we tend not to give it much attention. However, when our sleep habits go awry, that’s when we have problems.
Why is SLEEP so important?
For a start, it dramatically improves your performance.
Sleep helps our bodies to rebalance after a hectic day. In times of illness and grief – sleep is our body’s natural way of healing.
The benefits of sleep are huge :
- More energy and vitality
- Greater feeling of wellbeing
- Improved creativity
- Considerable patience
- Increased productivity and better decision making
How much SLEEP do I need?
Understandably, this varies from one person to another.
Donal Trump credits his success to sleeping only three to four hours each night ( I choose not to comment further 😉 )
For those of us wanting to operate with more clarity – here are a few guidelines :
- Babies : require 17 hours sleep per 24 hours
- Older Children : require 9-10 hours a night
- Adults : require 8 hours sleep each night
What happens if I don’t get enough SLEEP?
Lack of sleep leads to poor concentration and the inability to focus.
Let’s face it, many of us who have suffered from sleep deprivation know only too well that lack of sleep is detrimental to our health and mental wellbeing. You may recognised some of the side effects :
- Inability to make rational decisions
- Trouble coping
- Reduced confidence and self-esteem
- Lower energy levels
- Increased likelihood of accidents
- Lack of focus and concentration
- Erratic mood swings
Why can’t I SLEEP?
There are a few points worth considering when trying to improve your sleep habits. It’s worth understanding that the issue might not be the number of hours you are sleeping – but perhaps the quality of your sleep. Here are some factors that could reduce the quality of your sleep :
- Bedroom is too hot / cold / noisy / bright
- Uncomfortable bed
- Bad sleep routine
- Not enough exercise
- Antisocial sleep partner ( e.g. they keep different hours / they snore / pets in bedroom )
- Stimulants before bedtime ( e.g. caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, drugs … )
How do I get more SLEEP?
The trick is to develop a healthier sleep routine. It’s worthwhile to train your mind and body to recognise when you need to sleep and the triggers that will lead to a healthier practice. I call this Transition Time. Here are a number of pointers that might help :
NAPS : Nap early or better still, not at all. Naps during the day, tend to interrupt the sleep pattern. Naps are best taken an hour after lunch and to last between 10 and 20 minutes. Try not to have a nap anytime after 5pm.
No STIMULANTS : Avoid these 2 hours before bedtime. As previously suggested, avoid alcohol, caffein, nicotine and drugs.
PREPARATION : Make sure you don’t eat a big meal or drink too much before bedtime. Sleeping with either a full stomach or full bladder, can impact the quality of your sleep.
ROUTINE : Where possible, stick to keeping regular hours. Going to bed at the same time gets your mind into a healthier pattern.
ALARM : Set an alarm on your phone 60 minutes before bedtime. This unconsciously tells your mind to start unwinding.
STRESSED? : Exercise during the day often helps reduce your stress levels.Try having a soothing bath or shower to relax.
[ For some practical tips on how to deal with STRESS please click here ]
UNPLUG : We all know the sciencey bit – but it is important to stop using your electronics at least 30 minutes before your head hitting the pillow. Try reading a book or a magazine instead of reading from a screen.
CLOTHING : Dress for bed. Night clothes instruct your mind that you are ready for sleep. Sweat pants, though comfortable, are not as effective. Sleeping ‘au natural’ also works well.
MEDITATION : Using meditation and breathing techniques significantly relaxes and quietens the mind.
BEDROOM : Make sure your bed is comfortable, the room is dark enough and there is enough fresh air circulating. Better still, make your bedroom a “gadget free zone”. Charge the phones and the iPads downstairs.
If sleep deprivation is becoming a real problem for you, sometimes a sleep diary provides insights into your sleep habits and areas for improvement.
If however you are still struggling, please do seek support; as you so not have to suffer in silence.
Remember, the sooner you start retraining your brain into being more disciplined regarding relaxation and your sleep, then the sooner you will be able to use your newer, more positive mindset as a springboard towards a calmer future.
Click the button below to download a step-by-step guide that will help you calm the chaos in your head.
Much Love 💕