Steve Carey, Clinical Hypnotherapist, gives us the low-down on some sleep savings tips!
How's your sleep? I see many clients with insomnia, and very often they're unaware of practical steps they can put in place to improve their sleep.
Perhaps you're in one of these categories:
* You're a mum who hasn't got back into a good sleep routine even though your kids aren't waking up at night;
* You're finding it difficult to get to sleep;
* You get to sleep OK, but wake up during the night and find it hard to get back;
* You just don't seem to get enough sleep and wake up feeling tired and lacking energy.
Whatever your story - and insomnia isn't just one thing, it covers all the above patterns and more besides - there's a set of things you can do that may well improve things. Collectively they're known by the rather odd name of 'sleep hygiene,' and they're designed to help you re-establish a good sleep pattern. Here's a summary:
* Avoid long naps during the day, and particularly in front of the TV during the evening;
* Avoid light late on in the evening, and in particular stay away from screens (TV, phone, iPad) for a couple of hours before bedtime;
* Have a good, regular bedtime habit;
* Don't lie in at the weekend in an attempt to 'catch up on your sleep';
* If you're something of a worrier, it's worth early in the evening making a note of the things you want to work on the following day. Knowing that you have things in hand can be helpful;
* Some people find it helpful to visualise putting away their concerns into a drawer or a box - not one that's in the bedroom!
* Exercise is great for sleep;
* Alcohol is TERRIBLE for sleep. You may well conk out quick, but equally you may find you wake up again two or four hours later. Until you get your sleep functioning well again, do what you can to limit your booze;
* Keeping your bedroom on the cooler side seems to help - say, 16-20 degrees;
* Make sure your bedroom is properly dark;
* One expert, Hugh Selsick, swears by getting up at the same time every morning, even if you haven't had a good night's sleep. That way, you're likely to be good and tired when it's bed time;
* If you're getting up in the night needing a wee, limit your liquids before bed time;
* If you do wake up and can't get back to sleep again within, say, 15 minutes, then get up, go to another room and do something quiet, like reading (but not on a screen!), until you feel tired again. The idea is to build a strong association in your mind between bed and sleep - so lying awake staring at the ceiling isn't what you need;
* Finally, some clients have told me they've responded well to the suggestion that if you can't sleep, then instead of trying to get to sleep, try staying awake! Not quite sure why this one works, but as I say some have reported good results.
These would be the sorts of things I'd suggest to you if you came to see me with insomnia.
Try these, and if you're still not getting the sleep you need, there are other things we can do that involve hypnosis.