We struggle with sleep in all sorts of different ways. Some struggle to get to sleep in the first place, some wake numerous times in the night, and some find they’re constantly feeling tired as though the sleep they’re getting isn’t sufficient. It can be difficult to judge whether you are getting enough sleep just because it’s different for each individual – and can change over your life time.
How to help sleep problems:
- Ensure your bedroom is a calming pleasant place to be by keeping it clean and tidy, perhaps introducing relaxing smells with essential oils or candles.
- Avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol in the late afternoon/evening – instead drinking decaffeinated/non-alcoholic versions of your favourite drink or trying something like an herbal tea or malt drink instead
- Don’t eat big or really spicy meals late in the evening. It’s not great for your digestive system to go to bed on a full stomach, you don’t want to be hungry but you want to aim to be satisfied, not stuffed full.
- Doing some physical exercise such as a brisk walk in the late afternoon can help you make your body tired and help you to sleep.
- Set a regular time for going to bed and waking up to try and teach your body the routine you want to get into.
- Develop a short relaxing routine leading up to bed time. This may include having a bath, writing a diary, reading a book or doing a relaxation exercise (check out my post on the progressive muscle relaxation exercise). Try limit brain stimulating activities and choose relaxing wind down activities.
- Associate your bed with going to sleep by avoiding watching tv in bed. If you can’t sleep after 30 minutes, get up and do another activity such as reading or listening to music. After 15 minutes try returning to bed and going to sleep again.
Struggling with your sleep can have a huge impact on your mental health, and mental health problems can cause difficulties sleeping. If you are up all night struggling to sleep, this can then make it difficult to concentrate during the day. This might result in you worrying that you aren’t performing as well as usual at work or may cause you to withdraw from social events. You may start to feel anxious about your performance, or losing contact with friends and the worry itself may prevent you from getting a good nights sleep. Check back soon for some tips on dealing with worry.