Posts Tagged ‘sleeping’

Tackling Sleep Problems

Sleep TherapyI have pulled together some information which I hope will be useful for anyone who is going through problems with sleep.  Although I have covered many reasons for sleep disturbances my blog can’t include them all.  If you have any concerns about your sleep or general wellbeing I would strongly suggest speaking to your GP.

Most of us have experienced times when we find ourselves unable to get to sleep.  We can all deal and function with only occasional sleeping disturbances.  When we find ourselves not having enough sleep night after night this can effect mood, concentration, memory and more creative aspects of your thinking.

How much sleep do we need?

Adults generally need 7-8 hours sleep per night.  A few people feel that 4 hours is enough and some require as much as 10 hours per night.  As we grow older we require less sleep.

What effects sleep?

Many things effect sleep, including food, exercise, medications, caffeine, illness, stresses, worries, mood, alcohol and the comfort of the room.  If you have a ongoing sleep problem it’s worth considering these areas and making the necessary changes

What can help?

  • Consider if you make changes to your lifestyle and deal with physical problems
  • Establish a regular routine and time for bed and awakening: e.g. bath, drink, book & bed.
  • Control thoughts – if you have negative thoughts, challenge these and replace with positive thoughts
  • Relaxation – learn how to slow down your breathing, concentrate on relaxing your body and use imagery to help to drift off.

Lifestyle & Physical Problems
If you are experiencing pain or breathlessness which stops you sleeping – make an appointment with you GP, who may be able to offer a solution for you.  Reduce or eliminate drinking alcohol in an evening as its a diuretic and tends to wake you during the night.  Cut out stimulants (coffee, tea and tobacco and energy drinks).  Assess the comfort of your mattress – if its uncomfortable maybe a new one would be an investment?

Regular Routines
A regular calming routine can help you be settle better into sleep.  Try to avoid eating meals too close to your bedtime.  Get any chores out of the way in the early evening, so that for at least an hour before bed you are chilling and settling down.  You could maybe watch TV or do a hobby, have a warm milky drink, read, have a soak in the bath.

Resist the urge to have naps during the day and until you start to see regular improvements, get out of bed at the same time every morning (don’t be tempted to sleep in).

Control Thoughts
Often sleep disturbances are caused by over thinking, negative thoughts and stresses.  If you find that you are lying in bed over 30 minutes worrying.  Get up and do a task which is constructive for you.  In this way bed is associated with sleeping and not staying awake.

Often writing thoughts and worries down on a jotter can help.  They will be there to deal with in the morning.  If thoughts are continuously interfering with sleep spend time during the working day to work through them, eliminating any stresses you can, speak to a partner, friend, professional or GP.  If you have regular negative thoughts – evaluate them for what they are – look to replace these with alternative positive thoughts.  If you find this difficult to do this for yourself ask someone you trust to help you to see an alternative perceptive or beneficial solution to your thoughts or problems.

If you you feeling very down – consider speaking to your GP.

Regular exercise – such as walking, yoga, keep-fit, dancing etc can have a remarkable effect on your ability to sleep.  Physical exercise is also good to release stresses of the day and aid your body to relax.  Relaxation can describe a number of activities; breathing techniques, your settling down routine, having a bath, meditation, self hypnosis or music.

A good method to relax your mind is to focus on your body.  Start by working you way from the top of your head and shoulders down to the tips of your toes.  Tense each body part on-by-one and then release it – let it go.  After you have travelled down your body – do it again but this time look for the part that is most comfortable and relaxed.  If any part remains tense release and let go until each part is feeling as relaxed as the most comfortable.

As your doing this exercise you may find your breathe is slowing down naturally, if not concentrate on slowing down your breathing and inhale (as you count to 4) and exhale (as you count to 4).

When your body is relaxed you can use some simple self hypnosis techniques to help you to drift naturally into sleep.  Imagine a staircase with 20 stairs (this could be in a mansion, house, garden, seaside etc).  Picture the stairs going down, use all you senses to see the surroundings, hear the wind/birds/TV/music etc, feel the stair-rail/wall, smell the flowers etc and taste the aromas/salt in the air etc.  As you imagine yourself descending down the stairs and getting closer to this special place you have created in your mind – you will find yourself drifting deeper into sleep.  With each step you will discover that your body and mind relaxes even more.  As you take each step this doubles the effect of relaxation and comfort in your mind.  As you slowly walk down the steps and count from 20-0 you find that your breathing naturally slows down, your body and mind begin to rest.  As you reach 0 you are feeling sleepy and allow you imagination to drift as you reach this special place of calmness.

If you are not used to relaxing your body and mind I would suggest practising the above every evening – regular relaxation reduces stress and anxiety and aids natural sleep.

I very much hope you’ve found my blog interesting and useful.


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