Warning: this post contains effective sleep tips!
These days I sleep like the proverbial baby – to be honest, you can’t stop me. The main problem is trying to keep myself awake after 9 pm when that lovely, snoozy hug of a feeling starts to take hold and I just want to close my eyes and float down into that sea of dreams.
I trained to be a hypnotherapist because of this happy transformation and really enjoy helping others to do the same by handing the process back to their unconscious minds. Alongside the hypnotherapy though, there are many practical tips that I will always suggest – here are five of my favourite sleep tips :
1. Empty your head
A busy, buzzing head can’t sleep well – even if you get to sleep you’re likely to over-dream, so make sure you wind-down well before sleep and leave your worries outside your bedroom door.
A recent study recommends writing a to-do list for the next day. That would certainly help to offload the worries, along with writing any specific worries down and mentally agreeing to leave them on the page until morning.
2. No screens or technology
Yes, yes, I know you’ve heard it before but this one is essential for a good night’s rest. The science is simple, blue light affects the production of melatonin, which is essential for sleep. It also helps our minds associate our bedroom with sleep if we turn it into a sleep sanctuary and leaving all technology outside is a great start.
3. Stop trying
This can be one of the hardest ones to achieve but is probably the most important. Sleep in an unconscious process, like digesting food or breathing – you can’t make yourself do it.
There are various exercises I teach my clients to help them rest with a relaxed mind that is prone to drifting off, rather than focusing on sleep, but a simple progressive body relaxation is a good start.
Mindfulness and meditation are always top of my list of recommendations, primarily because they help the mind to take a break from all those frenetic, busy thoughts and things to do.
For most of us being in the now is a rare treat, but it shouldn’t be an occasional after-thought or accident of a happy moment. We all need to put it on our to-do list along with eating well and getting enough exercise.
Mindful exercises and meditation help our minds move into the REM state, which is where it needs to go for sleep. Practising during the day helps warm up that mental ability so the mind knows what to do at night.
5. No clocks and no light
This one made a big difference to me: don’t check the clock. Clock watching adds to the anxiety, so it helps to make sure you can’t time-check at night. It also helps if you don’t switch on the lights at night since light sends signals to the brain that it’s time to wake up.