How to sleep better
Perhaps it is a symptom of modern-times, perhaps it’s always been this way, however now more people are willing to seek help. I’m finding an increase in the number of clients who have sleep issues. Sometimes it’s insomnia but more often than not, it’s just a general exhaustion and a feeling of not getting enough sleep.
The first thing to say about this is what is ‘enough’ – have you worked out what enough for you is? For example my younger brother operates fine on about six hours a night. My partner can do the same and then every few weeks, he will sleep a good 12 hours. When my eczema is really bad, I need to sleep at least 10 hours a night. My point is we are all different and the first thing to establish is how much you – not anyone else – need.
After that, it is about analysing what you tell yourself about sleep? Do you have a guilty narrative about it? That too much sleep is self-indulgent or makes you lazy? What is the story you tell yourself and should you change the story? Then, what do you gain by NOT sleeping? Do you get a satisfaction out of it? My mother listens to the World Service and feels she gains hours the rest of us (mere mortals!) waste with sleep! So what do you gain? And is it worth it? What would you gain instead if you slept more?
So after all this reflection and re-organising your thoughts you need to turn to your sleep routine. The key here is that the routine – whether it’s just 10 minutes long each night or an hour, it must be identical every night. You have your hygiene routine, then the way you set up your bedroom, turning off all screens/devices (and I think this is crucial), perhaps some yoga/stretching to ease any tightness and then some audio that you find calm and meditative to help you calm down and switch off. Everyone is unique, so every routine should be unique but once you have one, stick to it religiously each and every night.
And if you do these things, I promise you a better night’s sleep!