Sleep is a wonderful gift and a rite of passage to us all at the end of every day, but not everyone can drift into slumber when they would like to. So, we asked leading Clinical Hypnotherapist Kim Dyke, to help Work in Mind’s readers how we can drift off a little more easily…
Your head hits the pillow and even though you feel tired, you just cannot switch off. Your brain appears to be taking this very moment to contemplate life and the Universe and to ask questions that can take them down a multitude of rabbit holes! For others, you fall asleep as soon as you get into bed, sleep for a few hours, and then wham! It is as if a light has been switched on, you are wide awake and unable to get back to sleep.
We all know how great we feel after a good night’s sleep and the difference it makes to the day when we awake.
We can feel switched on, refreshed, full of energy and raring to go. The day starts and ends in a positive way. However, when we are struggling with our sleep, we can experience the exact opposite. We feel lethargic, unrested, dreading the day ahead as we know it is going to be a long hard slog … again!
Our cells go through a repair and rejuvenate process when we sleep well and so if we are not able to sleep, this regeneration is inhibited, and we see the effects of lack of sleep in our physical wellbeing and also in our mental wellbeing. We can suffer with anxiety and the symptoms of depression, which can have a detrimental effect on our overall mental and physical health, we can be less motivated and not as productive. As you can well imagine, this can have a real impact on our lives, not only our personal ones but our working lives too. It is in everyone’s best interests to ensure they have a great night’s sleep. So, what can we do to help us achieve this?
Managing the ‘stress bucket’
This year really has been a challenge for a lot of us. The changes involved in managing to work from home, juggling work life with home schooling, perhaps feeling isolated working from home rather than with a group of people has resulted in people’s ‘stress buckets’ filling up, and for some, to overflow!
However, there are things that we can do that can help us to deal with life and these changes in a positive way that will also help us to sleep better; in turn when we sleep better, we will deal with life in a better way. Good eh? I have included a few tips below if you are one of those people struggling to sleep:
- Do your absolute best to go to bed at the same time and to wake up at the same time, even at the weekend or on your days off. The brain really does respond well to routine!
- Talking of routine, and how well the brain responds to it, it is best to make sure that your working day is structured in a way that is conducive to working well. So, make sure you start your day at your usual time, that you have a proper space to work from where possible and that you have a proper lunch break away from your desk. Finish your day at the same time, as best you can. I can hear some of you saying, “but I don’t have time for a lunchbreak!” Trust me on this one, you will be so much more productive when you take a lunchbreak. The brain does need to switch task or to rest every 90 minutes and when this happens it boosts our energy levels!
- Make sure you plan your following day’s tasks before you shut your laptop/pc down. You will start your workday knowing what you are aiming to achieve and will hit the ground running. The result is more productivity, which can make us feel good. And because we have planned the following day, we are not laying in bed thinking about it which is keeping us awake!
- Practice thinking positively. I know this can be a hard thing to do when you are struggling with sleep, but it is essential we train our brain to do this because then we activate the part of our brain that is much more sensible and intellectual and can deal with life in a much better way. Thinking positively does not necessarily mean thinking about big things, it can be those small things too like a conversation we have enjoyed or seeing the sun on a frosty winter’s day.
- Make sure you come off any devices you may have been using during the evening about an hour before you go to bed, such as mobile phones, iPads, laptops, etc. Unfortunately, they omit an invisible blue light that affects the release of our sleep hormone, melatonin. The result is that the brain will find it difficult to switch off. It needs some time to ‘come down’ from the day. This is such an important aspect to consider. Why not take a nice relaxing bath or shower in that hour before you head off to bed, or listen to some nice relaxing music? Do not feel tempted to watch TV in bed either as TVs omit the same blue light which will have the same result on our brain! Bedrooms need to be a place of calm and rest.
- Check the room temperature of your bedroom, we tend to sleep better in a cooler room.
- Make time for you to relax. Practicing self-care is so important, it is not selfish, it is absolutely necessary. When we do this, we feel good, and when we feel good everyone around us benefits … and we sleep well!
I hope you find these tips useful and I wish you a wonderful night’s sleep! You are very welcome to listen to my relaxation track as you settle down to sleep. You can download a complimentary copy through my website www.kimdykehypnotherapy.co.uk
For more content on how to fall in love with sleep, click here.
Work in Mind is a content platform designed to give a voice to thinkers, businesses, journalists and regulatory bodies in the field of healthy buildings.