One of the most common complaints a client will tell me about is that they are sleeping badly, whether it has been triggered by an emotional event, stress at work, too much alcohol or something you have always lived with, sleep deprivation is thoroughly miserable.
Anyone who has had more than one sleepless night in a row will fully understand why sleep deprivation has been used as a form of torture in the past. When we have a poor sleeping pattern our mental and physical health quickly begins to suffer, studies have shown that even minor periods of sleep deprivation can lead to and / or increase your risk of:
- Heart disease
- Impaired cognitive function
- Higher risk of accidents
- Reduced sex drive
- Increased aging
This is just a short list of the possible implications of a lack of sleep. It therefore, is not surprising that when a client comes to me for help with a physical or emotional problem, then lack of sleep is also a regular side issue that they will also mention.
Whilst all of us will have occasions where sleep evades us, it is important that if it persists you get some expert help. However, there are plenty of things we can do ourselves to try and help us drift off to the land of nod.
- Remove technology from the bedroom – So many of us are guilty of checking our phones or tablets whilst in bed. Apart from mentally stimulating your brain when you use the phone, the blue screen technology also puts a huge strain on your eyes meaning that you often feel physically tired but mentally wide awake. Keeping your bedroom a technology free zone will mean you are not tempted to check your phone as soon as you cannot sleep.
- Create a routine – Just like we do with a newborn baby, creating a routine leads to an expectation of sleep. An hour before you are due to go to bed, start to allow your body and mind to wind down. Whether its a warm bath, hot drink, reading a book or some relaxing music, create a routine which begins to calm and relax you.
- Breathe it out – Our breath is key to calming our body and can be used as a really effective tool to help you fall asleep. A simple breathing technique of breathing in for the count of 6, holding it for the count of 4 and breathing out for the count of 8 helps you to not only calm your body down but by focusing upon counting the breath you stop your mind from wandering and becoming overactive.
- De-clutter – Is your bedroom a peaceful haven or is it filled with clutter? Ironing crawling up the walls? Your very own ‘floordrobe’? Whatever environment we are in, we unknowingly pick up on the energy of it so if your bedroom is chaotic, your energy will take longer to calm within it. Try and clear your room of everything non essential and make your bedroom your very own sanctuary.
- Meditate – I believe that the best way to fall asleep is to meditate, in fact I swear by it. Whether you play some lovely calming nature sounds that let your imagine you are laying in a beautiful meadow or you listen to a guided meditation, this kind of activity helps you drop off and sleep much more peacefully. Think of when you used to have a bedtime story, it is the same kind of exercise. I have created a deep sleep meditation within my 28 Days to Beam Programme which people have said is impossible to stay awake to! Sleep is so critical to our health that if you feel like you have tried everything then you have nothing to lose by trying some meditations.
Of course, there are times in our life when sleep deprivation is inevitable, namely when we have young children. If you are in this space and craving for one solid nights sleep then you are not alone. However, using the approaches above will not just benefit you but also your children, no matter what age they are you can also help create an expectation of sleep with some good routines, peaceful bedrooms and a lovely meditative bedtime story or music.
Goodnight, sleep tight!