Can't sleep

Many people go through periods of insomnia and there can be many reasons for it. It might be diet, it might be emotional, it might be the bed and pillow aren’t right! Some of these things are easier to fix than others; all of them are fixable, however.  I highly recommend that you contact a coach like me who can explore with you issues that might be stopping you sleeping and find solutions. It’s  imperative that we change what sleeping means to you and how you go to sleep. The former would be addressed through coaching; that latter is addressed here.

Tips to help you get to sleep

Only go to the bed when you are wanting to sleep not tired per se

There is an important difference between being tired and being ready to sleep. If you’re tired make a warm, milky drink or a non-stimulating herbal tea and drink that. Make sure the television is turned off. Perhaps listen to some quiet music. It’s important that the brain isn’t stimulated. It’s likely that after a while you will start to feel the need to go to sleep. Good. Now is the time to go to the bedroom.

If you aren’t asleep within 20 mins get out of bed and go elsewhere. Come back when sleepy. Repeat for as often as needed. Bed is for two (sleep and sex) or may be three (reading a paper book) things. Nothing else.

This refers to reframing (if you like, changing) what sleeping means to you. If you’re not asleep in that timeframe you need to leave the bedroom. It is counter-productive to lie there unable to sleep. You need to leave the bedroom and go elsewhere. What you do elsewhere is crucial. Nothing that stimulates the brain so no LED screens, computers, televisions, games consoles etc. Low lighting and somewhere that is a cool temperature. (The bedroom, by the way, should be at a cool temperature as well. Too warm and it doesn’t aid the want to go to sleep.) Once you start to feel you need to sleep once more go back to bed. If you then can’t sleep after 20 minutes leave the bedroom once more. You may well need to repeat this process several times and perhaps for several days. We need to change at an unconscious level what the bedroom is for. It is not for struggling to sleep. The bedroom is for sleep and sex. Personally, I do like to read a paperback book or my Kindle e-reader (since that’s non-LED) and find that it actually helps me to fall asleep (it’s not because it’s a boring text by the way!). Others, though, strongly disagree with reading anything in bed. What works for you is what you should do. If reading stimulates the mind and you can’t sleep read elsewhere but never in the bedroom. If reading helps you to fall asleep, as it does me, go ahead and keep reading.

Be careful of what you’re drinking and eating in the evening. Avoid stimulants.

It’s amazing how many people drink caffeinated coffee in the evenings and then wonder why they can’t sleep! It’s not just stimulating drinks that we need to be careful of though. Foods can also reduce the likelihood of a good night’s sleep. You need to avoid these foods. It might be a habit that you need to break. That’s OK. All habits are breakable!

Maintain a regular sleep pattern to get in the habit. Get up at the same time too.

This is about routine. And sticking to it. The body needs to be retrained and getting up at the same time each day helps that training process. Adopting a consistent pattern of ‘Lights out’ by 11 pm will help enormously too. It’s not true by the way that the older you get the less sleep you need. The quality of that sleep changes and more elderly people tend to sleep lighter, therefore being more prone to being woken earlier. Irrespective of age apart from babies and toddlers the old adage of at least eight hours – quality – sleep per every night is what we need.

If you find getting to sleep an issue look carefully through the above points. What can you change that will help you be it a habit, a lifestyle choice or literally what you lay your head and body on?

It might be that you’re still struggling after doing those things referred to above. I strongly urge you to contact me and we can have a 15-minute, informal chat and go from there.

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