Sleep should not be a luxury.
Why You Need Sleep
Sleep is essential for better stress management and getting enough sleep (between six and eight hours each night) can help to reduce your stress levels. Your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing depend on you getting enough sleep.
In his book, ‘Why We Sleep’ Matthew Walker says, ‘There does not seem to be one major organ within the body, or process within the brain that isn’t optimally enhanced by sleep (and detrimentally impaired when we don’t get enough).’
When you feel stressed you might find that it’s harder for your mind and body to relax and to fall asleep at night. And if you don’t get enough sleep you will feel exhausted, anxious and overwhelmed. So a vicious cycle easily falls into place.
You might have to get up earlier than you want to in order to get to work, so you will have to train yourself to go to bed earlier. This can be difficult for the ‘owls’ amongst us, and they tend to be the most sleep deprived. The early start to schools is actually detrimental to teenagers who for real physiological reasons of development need to sleep late. Since my children left home, I sleep much better because I don’t need to get up so early. The difference between ‘owls’ and ’larks’ is not a lifestyle choice it is unavoidable DNA hardwiring.
Shift work has long been known to disrupt sleep patterns and consequently the health and wellbeing of those involved in it. Many people have no choice if they are in professions that operate 24 hours, but it requires careful management. It would be better for public health to match working/school hours to people’s waking and sleeping cycles.
Some Tips to Try
Very few people actually suffer from clinical insomnia and sometimes a small change to your behaviour can help. Here are a few ideas to help you sleep better:
- Don’t go to bed too early- wait until you’re sleepy
- Wake up at the same time each morning, even at the weekend.
- Avoid large meals, alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine for at least 3-4 hours before you go to bed
- Get regular exercise, but not within 3 or 4 hours of bedtime. Exercising too close to bedtime can act as a stimulant rather than making you feel tired
- Reserve your bedroom for sleep and sex only. Don’t eat, watch TV, or use a computer when you’re in bed
- Relax for one hour before bedtime. Try listening to soothing music or reading a good book. When you are winding down, avoid the computer, video games, TV, and other sources of bright lights
- Complementary therapies including Reiki and Flower Essences, as well as meditation, often help with sleep problems
- Make sure your bedroom is dark
- Make sure your bedroom is cool
- Consider changing your bed or mattress or even just getting new pillow/duvets/covers/sheets
It is of course possible that you have an underlying health condition that makes sleeping difficult, so it is always worth checking with your doctor.
I have a group offering daily meditation online as well as my Flower Essence and Reiki options should you want to try a complementary option. Message me to find out more.