The last of my blog series on sleep problems.
Having problems getting to sleep or staying asleep (or both) is an issue for soooooooo many people.
Don’t be one of them.
Read on for my final tips:
Don’t stress over the amount of sleep you have had.
It’s the quality of sleep that is important, not the quantity.
Ball park figure is 8 hours, but that doesn’t mean this is personally what YOU need. It could be more it could be less.
Some people need as little as 5 hours. Some people needs as much as 10 hours.
It just depends.
Assess for yourself by varying your bed times.
It’s fairly obvious, but if you are stressed or something is playing on your mind, then sleep will be hard to find. Scientists have found a direct link between stress and the rhythm of sleep.
I not going to under play the severity of stress by suggesting my tips below will eradicate stress, but they may help you a little bit.
- Get help from a Therapist, Financial Advisor, Mortgage Advisor, Fitness Instructor or Coach to address your areas of stress properly.
- Write your thoughts down in a diary each night. Like a brain dump.
- Write a To Do List of what you need to do the following day. Number in priority order
- Place your hand on your heart. Breathe in deeply and slowly for the count of 5 seconds and then breathe out slowly and deeply for 5 seconds. Do this until for feel your heart rate slow down.
- Do a night time meditation to help relax you.
- Do a night time yoga sequence.
Remove your clock
Extremely effective and so simple.
Looking at your clock can make you anxious about the sleep you are not getting.
So, remove it or turn it around.
Make a pledge not to look at the time during the night at all.
Also, removing the clock helps you to decide when to sleep.
Let your body tell you when it’s ready to sleep, not the time.
My advice is to be in bed by a certain time and start to prepare for sleep. But don’t turn off the light and sleep until your body tells you it’s ready.
There are different schools of thought on sleep apps from different experts, some believing the sounds from the Apps can actually stimulate you regardless of them being relaxing.
Sometimes they work for me and sometimes they don’t, but overall I would recommend them.
Audio books can also be good
You can also get good sleep Apps to help you analyse your sleep patterns. I use one called Sleep Cycle which is really good.
Diet and Alcohol
It’s fairly complicated from a bio-chemical stance as to the foods that promote sleep and I won’t go into that here.
But it’s been proven that the following foods help promote sleep:
- Sirloin Steak
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Sunflower Seeds
- Sour Cherry Juice (pure). If you consume 30 ml twice a day it helps to increase the circulation of melatonin which helps promote sleep.
There are also things that must be avoided to aid your sleep:
- Alcohol – can effectively knock you out not giving you the restorative sleep you need. So, if you are having problems sleeping, cut back considerably.
- Caffeine – stimulates the nervous system so needs to be avoided in the evening. I try not to have any caffeine after midday. Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, colas and fizzy drinks. Plus, limit the amount of caffeine you have generally. An acceptable amount is 400 mg as per European Standards. I believe this is approximately 4 cups of instant coffee and approx 2 cups of coffee house coffee.
Out of balance oestrogen and progesterone which can occur before a period, perimenopause and during the menopause can cause sleepless nights.
So, if you are suffering from poor sleep and can’t think why, it may be worth having a hormone test through your GP.
Also, thyroid problems, increased cortisol (caused by stressed) and puberty can interrupt sleep patterns considerably.
If in doubt, book and see your GP for a consultation.
Depression can cause sleep problems and poor sleep can cause depression.
So, you need to be careful with this.
Depression is a whole other blog post, plus I’m not a Doctor, but if you are having prolonged periods of feeling down and accompanied sleep problems then I recommend you book to see your GP for a check-up.
I’m a big fan of alternative therapies and recommend the following to help you if suffering from sleep problems:
- Hypnotherapy – I haven’t tried hypnotherapy for my insomnia but it’s the next thing I intend to try if I ever get another bout. People swear by it. For the sake of £80, why not try it and see if it works for you.
- Acupuncture – I go to acupuncture every week for fertility, but one side effect I notice is how knackered I am afterwards and generally how well I sleep that evening. You can get a treatment particularly for insomnia. Google “Community Bed Acupuncture” for your town and it will show you the Practitioners who offer cheaper services if you are willing to share the treatment room with others.
- Reflexology – I love reflexology. I haven’t had it specifically for sleep, but for overall health and I always feel amazing afterwards and sleep so well. If you like your feet being touched, then this is perfect for you!
If poor sleep is plaguing your life it can be awful and you need to try and do as much as you can to help yourself get back into a sleep routine.
I’ve found that in the depths of despair when I can’t sleep, sleeping separately from my husband does help.
That’s no disrespect to him, but I find it helps me get to sleep easier and obviously stops waking him up from my restlessness.
We don’t need to do this very often now days, but I endorse it to anyone who is not sleeping well.
Explain to your other half it’s only temporary and within a week you should be sleeping back together.
If you are waking up and still knackered, it could be you have a sleep disorder called Sleep Apnoea.
This is where you sleep is interrupted because your breathing pauses whilst asleep which in turn wakes you up.
Symptoms being snoring and loud sighs during your sleep.
It’s fairly common, particularly in men and it can be easily treated.
Ask your Partner if they hear you in the night?
If you think you may have this do some research on the condition and go to see your Doctor.
Ultimately if you can’t sleep and it’s disrupting your life then you need to go to the Doctor and get some advice.
In severe cases, they may prescribe sleeping tablets to help regulate your sleep patterns.
Sleeping tablets should be your last resort because they are addictive and are treating the symptoms not the cause BUT don’t be ashamed if you think you need them. Sometimes they can be just the thing to knock you back into a good sleeping pattern.
I hope these blog posts have helped. See previous posts on this topic.