Sleeping shouldn’t be rocket science, yet sometimes even though we think we’re doing everything right, we still find ourselves lying awake at 3am, cogs whirring and irritation mounting.
It is no secret that we are a nation of poor sleepers, with scientific research continuing to show that a lack of slumber leaves us unable to concentrate, irritable and physically and emotionally tired – but what we really want to know is how can we change this without turning to sleeping pills?
The great thing about sleeping patterns is that they aren’t permanent – we can change them. So, if you are tired of counting sheep and sleeping with lavender under your pillow, try these simple tips to help you on your way to the land of Zzz’s:
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone released by the body to regulate your sleep cycle. Unlike other hormones that the body can produce at any time of the day, melatonin is only produced at night – so your body needs to believe it’s night before it kicks into action.
The key to melatonin production is therefore to blackout. We don’t mean the kind where you have a memory lapse; we mean the kind where you make your room dark.
Whilst you may think that closing your curtains equals total darkness, scout the area for light pollution that may have snuck its way in.
If you live on a road dotted with glowing streetlights for example, then it might be time to invest in some blackout blinds. Similarly, pull the plug on any electronic items with a standby light that illuminates your bedroom.
2. Portion control
Whilst you may not associate your evening meal with sleep quality, there is a connection, especially if you tend to eat late.
Although indulging in a large meal can leave you feeling lethargic, this doesn’t mean you’re going to have a restful night of sleep.
When we eat a big meal, our digestive system has to work overtime which can mean that the body is unable to reach that deep stage of slumber required for proper night of restful sleep.
3. Say no to stimulants
We aren’t just talking tea and coffee here. Stimulants are present in a huge array of medication that many of us take on a regular basis. Antidepressants and Ritalin for example, are just two examples of prescriptions that often include a stimulant.
If you think your medication may be contributing to your sleepless nights, speak with your GP about the possibility of altering the times at which you take your dose so that it doesn’t impact your sleep.
4. Take some ‘me’ time
Over time, fatigue and tiredness can build and eventually you may find yourself running out of steam.
If you are feeling stressed and bogged down at work then don’t be afraid to use your time for some serious R&R. We work better and feel better when our batteries are fully charged.
5. Take a cat nap
Contrary to the popular belief that naps mean disrupted sleep, napping for short periods of between five and fifteen minutes could boost your energy without making it a struggle to get a full night of sleep.
If you can however, try to avoid napping too late in the day, otherwise you may find you aren’t tired when it’s time for lights out.
If you are a problem sleeper and have tried every trick in the book to no avail, it might be time to start considering some other options.
Hypnotherapy has long since been used as a natural and side effect free method of changing behaviour patterns. The process involves reconditioning negative behaviour patterns so that they can then be replaced with more positive ones.
To find out more about how hypnotherapy could aid you on your quest to better sleep, please see our Sleeping Disorder fact-sheet.
View and comment on the original Inspiyr article.