How to overcome sleep problems
We all need to enjoy peaceful, refreshing sleep in order awake revitalised ready for the day’s work and play. Fortunately for many people they sleep well as a rule with only an occasional disturbed or bad night’s sleep.
An increasing number of people however are experiencing sleep problems. So how do sleep problems arise and what can be done to overcome them? For many people with sleep problems they arise as sort of habit or self-fulfilling prophecy.
It’s difficult to sleep when there is a new baby in the home or an elderly or sick relative who needs care during the night. By the time baby sleeps through the night or the sick family member is back to good health poor sleeping patterns have often been established and remain. They have become a sort of habit.
When sleep problems arise as a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy they do so as a result of one or more bad nights which cause the person to then worry about sleeping. This becomes a vicious circle the worry about sleep makes it difficult to sleep which causes more worry and makes getting to sleep even harder.
Whilst almost all of us have the occasional bad night we are usually able to catch up on sleep over the next few nights. Longer periods of poor sleep however can have negative effects on physical and mental health and are undesirable.
So what can you do to help yourself get a good night’s sleep? Firstly establish that your problem is actually insomnia. This might sound obvious however I have been consulted by people about sleep problems who were actually being kept awake by backache or some other discomfort. If backache, toothache or indigestion is keeping you awake getting the appropriate help for this should sort out your sleep problem.
If you have begun to have sleep problems shortly after moving house or starting shift work this could be the cause of your sleep disturbance. Noises inside and outside your new home such as central heating or traffic will be unfamiliar. Most people adjust to a new environment in about three weeks and cease to have sleep problems. Similarly with shift work after the first three weeks your body is likely to adjust to your new work pattern.
Be realistic about sleep don’t expect to sleep ten hours per night. Whilst sleep requirements are individual most of us need to get 7 to 8 hours sleep each night to function at our best.
You’ll find it helpful to go to bed around the same time each night and to unwind before doing so In other words don’t expect to go straight to sleep after an evening at a party or a long drive after a difficult business meeting. Unwind with some relaxing music, a book or whatever helps you to feel relaxed.
Do not use your bed as a place to take or make phone calls, use computers or watch television. By avoiding these activities in the bedroom you will create a mental association between going to bed and sleep.
Getting sufficient fresh air and exercise during the day is also beneficial.
A glass of milk either hot or cold helps some people to sleep. Others find that eating a banana or small piece of turkey in the evening has a sleep inducing effect due to natural substances contained in these foods.
It may be helpful to take a daytime nap if this can be fitted into your schedule as this takes the pressure off making you less likely to worry about your night’s sleep.
So there are number of things that you can do to help yourself if you are having sleep problems. Hypnotherapy can also help particularly if you are having long term or resistant sleep problems. Most clients gain improved sleep within their first couple of treatment sessions and go onto completely overcome their problem.
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