At least at one point in our lives, we would have gone without a good nights sleep. How awful did you feel the next day?! Grumpy? Couldn’t concentrate? Fatigued? This could be bearable if it’s a one off however for many, this happens more frequently than not.
In a study conducted by The Sleep Health Foundation in 2016, they found that problems with sleep are very common, affecting between 33 – 45% of adults in Australia. Significantly, Harvard Medical School reports that lack of sleep can be a major factor in developing psychological disturbances, citing depression, bipolar and anxiety disorders as being the main ones.
The good news is that changes to lifestyle can make a huge difference. According to some experts, it’s thought that good sleeping habits can be a preventive to mental health issues.
- A comfortable bedroom is a must – Make sure it’s dark as possible at night time, with the room being not too hot or too cold.
- Sex and sleep only – The bedroom is for sleeping and having sex only. The TV is the biggest culprit for getting in the way of intimacy and a good nights sleep.
- Hide the clock – there’s nothing worse than not being able to sleep then having the clock taunt you about how long you’ve been awake, and how long it is until you have to get up.
- Create routine – give yourself time to relax after a big day. Listening to calming music or having a bath are ways to teach your body that it’s getting ready for bed.
- Go to bed sleepy not before – only go to bed when you’re sleepy, not before.
- Get up at the same time every morning – if you want to lie in for longer on the weekend, don’t make it any longer than one hour. Oversleeping can interrupt your regular sleeping habit.
- No nanny naps – like above, it can interrupt your sleeping pattern and make it hard to feel sleepy at bedtime.
- Early bird exercising – keep exercise as a morning routine rather than close to bedtime. Exercise stimulates the body thus making it harder to relax.
- Bedtime worrier – make a list early in the evening of all the things that are concerning you. If that doesn’t work, keep a notebook beside your bed to write out thoughts that still may be troubling you.
- Ditch the nicotine – nicotine is a stimulant so have your last cigarette earlier in the evening.
- Alcohol doesn’t help you sleep – try to have your last drink at least 2 hours prior to going to bed.
- Coffee is for the morning – like alcohol, have a cut off time for your last hit of caffeine mid afternoon.
- Daily mindfulness/meditation/prayer – any practice that allows you to stop, be present, and consider the awesomeness of life has benefits for mind, body and soul.
- 30 minutes and still awake? – get up out of bed and do something monotonous like a puzzle, knitting, listening to calming music. Same applies to if you wake up in the night.
- Turn devices off – at least 2 hours prior to going to bed. The light produced by them can interfere with the production of sleep hormones.
Have a go and see what works for you. Rather than try everything at once, I suggest you start with the tips you feel are the most manageable for you. Otherwise, it can become overwhelming and you’re left with the feeling that somehow you’ve failed. And when you’re tired and cranky, that’s the last thing you need.
Have something on your mind that’s keeping you up at night? Phone Rita on 0433 043 102 to make an appointment today. Phone and Skype sessions are available too.
More essential tips are available by downloading a FREE copy of my First Aid Kit to soothe a hurting heart and mind – 5 ways to feel loved and lovable again