Are you struggling to sleep at night?
Not being able to get to sleep – and remain asleep – can possibly be one of the most frustrating things in the world. And the more you toss and turn and get stressed out about being awake, the more you create the exact opposite conditions your body needs to be able to sleep.
To sleep well, you have to be well. However to be well, you need sleep. So not being able to sleep can feel like you are locked in a catch 22 situation.
If you are struggling with getting a good nights sleep then consider the following sleep hygiene tips…
During the deep stages of sleep, your body does its housekeeping. The liver processes the days waste; the digestion tract processes food; toxins are pushed out and new cells and chemicals are produced – to name a few. The food that you eat before you go to bed plays a big influencer on how well you sleep that night.
Eating foods that convert to glucose quickly before bed such as processed food, sugar, alcohol, white breads, pasta, and rice for example results in the bodies blood sugar levels peaking at a time you really don’t want them to peak!. In addition, it takes a lot more energy for the body to digest and break down heavy, rich food that are high in carbs, which affects your sleep time.
For good restful quality sleep opt for light meals that are easy to digest and are low on the carb front.
Also aim to eat as early on in the evening as possible.
A few alcoholic drinks may help to initially relax you however alcohol is incredibly high in sugar, which is a stimulus for the body. The liver processes alcohol between the hours of 2.00am and 4.00am, which is the reason why when you have had a few too many, you wake up – because the liver is overstimulated.
You don’t have to live a life of solitude, but for those that have sleep problems, cutting out alcohol for a few weeks, or limiting alcohol to a few drinks at the weekend will help the body get a much more restful nights sleep.
Switch off before bed
Lots of clients tell me that in order to fall asleep they need to be engaged in playing computer games or watching TV before to going to bed. This is the worst thing you can do! Anything that you absorb by way of digital technology such as surfing facebook, watching TV or playing computer games are all big time stimulants for the mind.
For a better nights sleep opt instead for reading a book; listening to an audible book or better still, doing a guided meditation. There are plenty of great Apps for meditation and sleep including Insight Timer, Calm and Slumber.
Worry and rumination – and how to remove before bed
One of the biggest blocks to sleeping is a busy mind, also known as rumination. Rumination is where thought after thought go around your head like a broken record. Thoughts about the day, thoughts about tomorrow, thoughts about conversations you have yet to have, thoughts about things that haven’t happened yet all clambering for your attention. Thoughts also create feelings, so the busier the mind, the more emotional arousal you have going on too.
- Write down what is bothering you on a piece of paper before you go to sleep and put it in a draw. It helps to get the thoughts out of your mind
- Journal on a regular basis – a great way of unpacking your thoughts and reframing them
- Write down all the things you need to do the next day
- Have a warm relaxing bath before bed – try adding a few drops of lavender oil for extra effect
- Listen to some soothing and relaxing music before bed and avoid stimulation in the form of TV
- Listen to a hypnotic download or a mindful meditation download – try one of the many hundreds of free ones from the App Insight Timer and Slumber
- Do some light yoga
- Listen to an Audible book
- Avoid clock watching
Trouble sleeping and staying asleep can also come from deeper psychological issues such as grief, hurt or fear that hasn’t been processed and still has the body on high alert. To find out more about how hypnotherapy for sleep can help you, book a free consultation today.
Sara Maude is an Edinburgh Hypnotherapist, Solution-Focused Psychotherapist, EFT Practitioner, Transformational Coach and International Wellbeing Trainer providing in-person and online sessions. Sara provides problem-free therapy which goes deep into the heart of the unconscious mind to create powerful lasting change.