5 Tips to Help Your Sleep
As our lives become busier and more stressful, often our sleep suffers. For many of us it’s difficult to fall asleep and for others, you frequently wake during the night. Fatigue can directly impact our mental health and well-being, it can weaken our immune system, and for those with extreme sleep deprivation, can mimic the symptoms of intoxication.
So what can we do to help improve our sleep?
Here are five simple strategies our lead Psychologist has collected to help you improve your sleep.
Develop a bedtime routine. You may already have certain things you do before bed, however it’s important to actively wind down before bed. Many of us will socialise, or work, or play on our phones and then hop in to bed and hope our brain switches off. Developing a simple bedtime routine can support in ‘winding your brain down.’ Simply, decide when you would like to be asleep, and work 45 minutes back from that. Starting with an activity that relaxes you physically (e.g. a shower) and then do a 30 minute activity that relaxes you mentally.
Stick to the same times. Try to stick to the same time of going to bed and waking up each day, even on the weekends! This can help your body clock stay stable and keep your circadian rhythms intact.
Try simple mindfulness techniques to support mental relaxation. Simple mindfulness techniques can support your mind in ‘quietening down’ whilst you’re trying to fall asleep or if you wake up during the night. Try working through your 5 senses, noticing what you can smell, hear, touch, taste and five things you can see that are one particular colour. Another simple technique could be to do a body scan, tensing and relaxing your muscles from your toes to your head.
Work on your sleep hygiene before bed. It’s important to keep your bed as relaxing as possible. Which means, making sure you don’t work on your computer in bed (don’t worry we all do it!). Also, try not to use your phone too much in bed or get into the habit of doing things in bed that are anything other than sleeping.
Work on your sleep hygiene if you wake up. Waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to fall back asleep can be so frustrating. It can actually be really normal to wake up during the night. However, here are a couple of ideas to support you in falling back to sleep if it’s happening regularly. Firstly, try not to check your watch to see the time (this avoids the mental arithmetic of how many hours of sleep you have left!), or try deep breathing - counting to 5 while breathing in and counting to 8 while breathing out. Lastly, you could try getting up to wash you face with a warm towel if you find yourself lying awake for more than 10 minutes (try not to turn on any lights!).
At Piece by Piece Therapies we have trained Psychologists who specialise in assisting with sleep and anxiety. If you have queries or concerns, please click the button below to make an appointment.