Rebecca Donoghue, Hypnotherapist
We all know that sleep is important. However, when life gets busy, sleep is often the first activity that we sacrifice. But there are many other reasons why a person may be struggling to sleep including pain or feelings of worry and stress. Not getting enough sleep can leave you feeling drained and susceptible to increased feelings of low mood, irritability, anxiety and even depression. The benefits of sleep are irreplaceable as it is essential for fostering a healthy body and a clear mind.
There are many different strategies to help you to get a better night’s sleep and here’s a list of factors to consider that could help you to improve the quality of your slumber.
If you struggle to get to sleep, make sure you get in some exercise each day to tire your body. Many sleep studies suggest that this is a key ingredient to reducing insomnia. The morning or afternoon are the best times to exercise. Exercise also helps to reduce stress, anxiety and prevent feelings of depression.
You should also avoid caffeine several hours before bedtime and limit the amount you consume during the day.
Aim to create a healthy bedtime routine: be careful what you read or watch on TV (i.e. nothing too violent or distressing) and avoid using electronics – especially your mobile phone at least an hour before bed. You could also listen to a calming guided relaxation meditation to promote a calmer mind (available to order from RD Hypnotherapy).
Nicotine is also a stimulant and should be avoided before bedtime.
Snoring waking you up? Try sleeping on your side and propping your head up slightly. You should also avoid drinking alcohol to help resolve this.
Waking during the night? You guessed it…alcohol is again guilty of disturbing those sleep patterns as it decreases the amount of time you spend in REM. You should also check the temperature of your room, approximately 18° is advisable.
Can’t seem to wake up in the morning? It is suggested that getting up at the same time every morning (even on the weekend) helps your body to get used to it.
Suffering from back pain? Add a pillow under your thighs if you sleep on your stomach or under your legs if you sleep on your back.
If you suffer from shoulder pain, you shouldn’t sleep on your side. If this is the only way you sleep, and the pain is only in one shoulder, try sleeping on the other side. Hugging a pillow also helps some people.
Make sure there is no electrical equipment within 2 metres of the bed – including alarm clocks and mobiles.
Make sure there is adequate ventilation (including opening the vents on double glazed windows).
Sleep naked with a seasonal quilt (sleeping naked allows the skin to breathe and your body needs a cool environment to fall into deep sleep).
Make sure your room is dark enough to facilitate the production of melatonin: this is the hormone that sends us to sleep. Dim lighting encourages the body to produce this hormone.
Minimise noise. You may want to consider earplugs.
If you’ve tried it all and are still struggling, it is possible that worry, stress or anxiety are disturbing your sleep patterns. Hypnotherapy is a safe, natural and effective way to help you to manage these feelings and promote a restful and rejuvenating night’s sleep. Many of my clients comment on how much better they are sleeping after their hypnotherapy sessions, even if insomnia isn’t the presenting issue.