You are feeling sleepy.... Are you?
Updated: Mar 18
Sleep – What’s stopping you?
Do you struggle to get to sleep? Have no problem drifting off only to be wide awake at 3am to lay there mentally ticking off a to do list, thinking about all of the things you could have, would have, or should have done, yesterday. Last week, last year?
There is a science to getting a good nights sleep, lack of sleep can be detrimental to our physical health. It can put us at risk of diabetes and heart disease and it can make us gain weight.
Trouble sleeping can be a result of feeling mentally or emotionally drained or hyper alert, it could be environmental – your surroundings, bed, room, temperature, nightwear? Have you considered any of these things?
Having a bedtime routine is crucial, falling asleep on the sofa, is not ideal, taking your phone to bed, sleeping with your phone in your room, also not ideal. Looking at your phone before you go to bed keeps you mind mentally active and psychologically engaged.
Melatonin is the hormone that controls your sleep and wake cycle, if your levels of melatonin are low you can experience tiredness during the day and disturbed sleep at night. What has this got to do with your phone?
Research has shown that there is a link between low levels of melatonin and exposure to blue light – the Blue light from your phone reduces your melatonin levels, it’s not only bad for your vision, but it’s bad for your brain too.
Scrolling through Instagram or Facebook right before bed can trigger feelings thoughts and emotions you may not have otherwise had, these can then leave you staring at the ceiling for hours at any time of the night feeling hyper alert and wide awake. It can be happy or sad feelings, both may have a subconscious negative impact on your sleep cycle. Ideally try and leave an hour between looking at your phone and getting in to bed. Meditate, read, listen to an audio book, practice mindfulness, breathe.
Sleep is vital to our health and well-being. Getting enough quality sleep can help protect your mental and physical health and impact your overall quality of life.
During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. Studies have shown that sleep deficiency alters activity in some parts of the brain and by not having enough sleep you may encounter difficulty controlling your emotions, coping with daily tasks challenges or change, Sleep deprivations has also been linked to depression.
In children and teenagers, sleep also helps support growth and development. It has been studied and understood that teenagers actually do need to sleep more than adults as their bodies rapidly develop through puberty and into adulthood. How many teenagers do you know sleeping with or next to their phones and staying up on the until late?
Sleep deficiency can be detrimental for our short and long term health, driving tired, or operating machinery even cooking can lead to fatal disasters when sleep deprived. Longer term a lack of sleep can create long lasting health problems, It also can affect your reactions, thoughts, overall mood and mental health.
Hypnotherapy can help with sleep, in a couple of ways. Perhaps you need to just learn to spend less time on your phone? Maybe you need to learn to quieten your mind chatter and learn how to relax or maybe there are some underlying emotional issues and concerns that are preventing your sleep.
There are also things you can do for yourself
Some top tips for a good nights sleep.
• Have a soak in a warm bath, or take a hot shower about an hour before bed. it is the cooling down that replicates your body temperature lowering naturally in preparation for sleep that may help you to drift off.
• Have a healthy bedtime routine – we always put children into a bedtime routine, so why do we stop doing it as adults? Clean your face, brush your teeth, add in a 5/10 minute stretch or yoga sequence to release and tension and stored up energy.
• Put your phone /laptop down around an hour before bed and listen to a guided sleep meditation or an audio book.
• Make sure that you get some natural daylight if you can during the day, take a walk outside, just 20 minutes in a morning to have a warm drink outside or walk the dog or just walk yourself, helps to set your circadian rhythm helping sleep.
• If you are a coffee drinker and struggling to sleep try and limit your caffeine intake to pre mid day, that large late you had at lunch will still be 50% in your system at 6pm and 25% circulating around still at 9pm. Coffee is great for helping us wake up but not so helpful in allowing us to sleep.
• Make sure your room is dark, and leave your phone or laptop/tablet in another room, not by the side of your bed, you will still hear the alarm go off outside the door and may be less likely to hit snooze once you have got up out of bed.
• Write down before you sleep 5 things you are grateful for, this helps to put you into a positive mindset for sleep and will help alleviate anxiety, and help you to wake up in a more positive frame of mind too!
• Your bedroom should be a haven for sleep, not TV or technology and it needs to be clear of clutter, a relaxing space, ideally dark, quiet, and at a temperature of between 18C and 24C.
• If you wake up – try not to worry about it, if there are many things on your mind – write them down. In hypnosis we refer to the law of opposite effect – the more you try to do something the less likely you are to be able to do it, if you keep telling yourself you need to go to sleep as you have to get up at 6am and it’s already 4 – you may find that you are even less likely to fall back to sleep. If you are awake for more than ten minutes, get up move into a different room, make a warm drink, read under a soft light, do some yoga and allow yourself to relax elsewhere.
• Try some breathing techniques – focusing on the breath, listening to your breath, filling your tummy like a balloon to a count of 3 holding it for 3 and breathing out for 6/7 – the longer out breath activating the parasympathetic nervous system and helping you to relax.