Tips to help you enjoy a good night’s sleep
I love, love, love sleeping. Seven hours of blissful sleep. Joy.
Some folks say they’re happy with 3 or 4 hours sleep. If that’s you – great, enjoy. (Though, secretly I suspect you’re from outer space. In which case, Welcome to our world!).
Overall though it’s safe to say that no sleep is no good.
If you suffer nights of broken sleep you know how absolutely awful it makes you feel. You wake feeling tired and groggy. Your head feels like it’s stuffed full of treacle-y fog. Trying to concentrate is difficult. Tasks that normally you’d do easily become hard work.
And, perhaps you find lack of sleep increases the likelihood of a migraine episode?
When sleep is elusive, it’s a rough day.
A good night’s sleep is essential for our physical and mental good health. Poor quality of sleep can happen for a whole heap of reasons.
Working shifts, a partner who snores, travelling and stress just to name a few My own recent stint of sleepless grogginess came courtesy of the peri-menopause.
It’s normal to go through times of shifting sleep; we all do. It’s when your sleep pattern stays broken that things become bad. You feel lousy during the day. And as night time approaches a sense of dread starts to grow.
You desperately want to sleep yet that voice in your head says, “What if I can’t fall asleep?”, “What if I wake up?”
And there’s that awful moment when you look at the clock and see that it’s 3am, again.
What happens next?
This does: “If I fall asleep now I’ve got another 4 hours before I need to get up.” Nothing happens, you stay awake. “OK, if I fall asleep now I’ve got another 3 hours….”
Small wonder you don’t fall back to sleep. Who could under that pressure?
9 Ideas for Blissful Sleep
I’d like to share some of the things that helped me through. The first two I learnt the hard way. I share them here so that you don’t have to.
1) Cut yourself some slack
If, for now, you’re not sleeping so good then you’re not sleeping so good. Acknowledging that helps. Next, take a look at what you could do to give yourself more space. Could you give yourself more time to finish that piece of work? Could you say “No” when someone asks you to do something that isn’t a priority for you? Could you do less and be OK with that?
2) Put some good stuff back in
I’m self-employed, so what did I decide to put my reduced energy into? Yep, that’s right – my work. All the other good stuff – time with my family, seeing friends, going for walks, learning Spanish – I cut back on.
Why? Because I “had” to save my energy for work. And did that help? Nope, not at all.
Of all the ideas here, this one is my top take-away for you: Put some good stuff back in by doing the things that you love, that make you feel whole again.
3) Be Flexible
Don’t be a clock watcher. Going to bed at the same time each night is okay – if that works for you. If it doesn’t, don’t do it. And don’t beat yourself up about neither. Worrying about not hitting the hay at some pre-designated time is not conducive to a good night of zzzzz’s.
4) Wind down
Watching a full-on action suspense TV or film just before heading to bed is not the greatest of ideas. You’ll have adrenaline sloshing through you. Make winding down part of your new going to bed habit.
Some people find getting their things ready for the next morning is calming. For others, quickly scribbling down the day’s events helps to clear their mind.
What could you do that’d help you wind down?
5) Cut back on drink
Waking up because you need to go pee can mess up your sleep pattern. Not drinking at least 1-hour before you head to bed helps reduce the need for night time loo trips.
And, that’s not just tea & coffee but booze too. We may think alcohol helps with sleep; in fact it does the opposite.
6) A peaceful place
OK, this is pointing out the obvious, but sometimes we need that – light wakes us up.
Make your room as dark as you can. Try sleeping with an eyeshade if you need extra dark. If noise is a problem (from outside or that snoring partner), try using soft ear plugs.
For now, it’s about creating the best conditions for rediscovering your natural sleep pattern.
7) Switch yourself off
You switch off your TV, computer, phone before going to bed, so do the same with you.
Settle comfortably in bed and, starting at your toes, switch off’ your body. In your mind’s eye, travel up your body switching off your knees, hips, back and so on until you reach the very top of your head.
It’s amazing how effortlessly this helps you let go of physical tension.
8) Count backwards, not sheep
If you wake up, head off that sinking feeling by counting backwards from 10,000.
No judgement, no expectations. Simply count down.
Should you find your mind whirring up, allow your thoughts to drift back to counting down. If you fall asleep that’s great. If sometimes you don’t, well that’s OK too. Counting backwards creates a space where you can rest .
9) Quieten the busy mind chatter
OK, this one’s a bit left of centre, but it works for me.
If my monkey mind chatter is really persistent, I say to myself: “OK, I give you permission to talk, but not in here. In here we’re resting. Please go to the living room where you can chatter as much as you like”.
Then, I picture myself getting up and leaving the room.
What can I say? Maybe sounds a little odd, but it helps me. Maybe it’ll help you too.
I hope these ideas help you feel more rested and maybe even get some blissful sleep. Try the ones that feel right for you.