Imagine if you could go to bed and fall asleep, wake up refreshed after a full eight hours sleep.
What if you could wave a magic wand and sleep fitfully and peacefully?
What are you willing to change to get sleep?
Let’s do an inventory of things that may be preventing you from falling asleep.
ONE – Routine
Stick to a daily sleep and waking routine – your body will respond.
- Do you go to bed at a different time every night?
- Do you go out with friends and come home late then expect to fall straight to sleep?
- Do you sleep-in on weekends?
If you answered yes, to any of these ‘routine’ questions you are throwing your system all out of whack. You body and mind, love routine. Your system is trying to keep up with you. You cannot expect your body to respond to sleep on demand when you are not priming it up with a healthy sleep routine.
TWO – Screens
Ditch computer / television / ipad / smart-phones for at least one hour before going to bed.
Research has shown working on computers, and looking at screens within one hour of going to bed can impact on falling asleep – so screens off one hour before bed is a must.
THREE – Lighting
Turn the lights down to prepare yourself for sleep.
Lowering the lights will prime your brain for sleep just as early morning light will prime your brain for waking. So not good news for nightshift workers but, at least it’s favourable for those of you working the 9-5 grind.
FOUR – Exercise daily
If your body is tired, this will help you fall asleep.
Simple really but, often dismissed by people as being too busy, too tired, not enough time. Just go for a quick walk around the block, play footy in the yard or go for a bike ride. You can incorporate exercise into your daily commute and ride your bike. Even incidental exercise like parking the car a couple of blocks further away from the shops is a good way to incorporate exercise into your day.
FIVE – Hydration
Ensure your system is adequately hydrated. (most people overlook this one)
More water, less coffee. Water is essential for your bodily functions – including the brain, especially the brain – given it’s up to 85% water. The brain gets to work while you sleep, busily filing the memories of the day away and processing, dreaming and so on. So drink up – your brain thrives on hydration.
SIX – Alcohol
Alcohol – it’s great at the time but, gee wiz it can impact on your sleep. Although it initially may help you to fall asleep, it often has the opposite effect later in the night and it dehydrates you.
SEVEN – Clutter
Clean up the bedroom. You’re not going to enjoy sleeping in a messy, cluttered room.
When you walk into your bedroom, what your eyes see can determine whether or not you’re going to simply fall straight into a wonderful slumber or, lay there awake, willing sleep to come to you. So one of my top tips is to tidy up. Get rid of the washing, pick up the dirty clothes and tidy up the bedside tables.
EIGHT – TV
Remove the television from the bedroom – eeek…sorry folks but the bedroom is for sex and sleeping only!
Screens, big ones like televisions – don’t scream I’m getting ready to sleep now. Watching television may seem like a cosy idea on a cold night but, if you’re serious about sleep, get it out of there – try it and see! There’s only two things that you should be doing in bed, sleeping and sex.
NINE – Stress
Work, relationships etc.
If you’ve got big stressors in your life, relationship worries, mental health issues or workplace issues, this is greatly going to impact on your sleep. So, take some responsibility for looking after your mental health, see your mental health practitioner, resolve conflicts, talk to your counsellor (I’m available for couples counselling appointments), but do not spend another night laying there worried or stressing over things.
Writing your thoughts down or your ‘to-do’s can be a quick win to freeing up and calming your mind.
TEN – Yawn and stretch
This is known to be one of the fastest ways to relax.
Yawning is one of the best kept secrets of neuroscience. There are many benefits that result for a great big yawn and stretch and relaxing is one of the biggest ones. I’m particularly fond of this one and often share this with children experiencing anxiety type behaviours as the big yawn and stretch has been identified as one of the fastest ways to relax. So yawn away your stress.
ELEVEN – Mindfulness/Meditation.
There has been a significant growth in the field of neuroscience thanks to the invention of the fMRI. Scientists have been able to measure areas of the brain, while the brain is functioning. In one of these studies, participants’ brains were scanned using fMRI while meditating over eight weeks to measure differences in brain activity. The results have concluded that meditation leads to enduring changes in brain function, even outside meditation sessions.
Practicing the art of meditation and mindfulness will help you live a more fulfilled life. It will help you have more focus, be calmer, and feel more relaxed. Therefore you will sleep better as your mind is calm and relaxed.
All my programs have access to the mindfulness and meditation program “Think, Love & Kindness”. The benefits to you can literally be life changing.
Listening to guided audios before bedtime will assist in calming the mind and encouraging restful sleep as well as broader mental health and other life changing benefits.
Click here to sample some relaxation audios to help you sleep.
If you have issues weighing on your mind and are having trouble sleeping, it could be affecting your relationship.
Click here to learn more about couples counselling and how I work to help you with these strategies and more.