Get a good night’s sleep: 5 things you can do

Get a good night’s sleep: 5 things you can do

Fed up with tossing and turning in your bed?  Clock watching? Sick of your 3 am wakeup call?  Sick of waking up early and can’t get back to sleep?

Wishing you could sleep like a baby?   That you could be flat out as soon as your head hits the pillow?

Getting a good night’s sleep is your super-power.  It’s the best thing you can do for yourself.

It allows your mind and body to recharge, waking up refreshed, alert, ready for the day ahead.

The occasional night without sleep is miserable.  You feel grumpy and irritable.  Not at your best – it won’t make you ill, you’ll be ok.

But long term it can increase your vulnerability to depression and anxiety.    It’s linked to heart disease, kidney disease and high blood pressure.  And a risk factor in gaining weight and obesity.

So, if you are struggling to sleep for more than four hours, or if you’re waking in the morning and feeling exhausted:  make an appointment to see your GP to rule out any underlying health problems.

How much sleep do we need?

Most of us believe that we need a good eight hours of quality sleep to feel well.

That’s not the same for everyone.

According to the National Sleep Foundation guidelines, healthy adults need between 7 and 9 hours sleep. This maintains our verbal, reasoning and thinking skills to function in our daily activities.

Babies, young children, and teens need even more sleep for growth and development and people over 65 should get 7 – 8 hours a night.

So, find your right amount.

5 things you can do to help yourself.

  • Create a bedtime routine. Lock the house, take a bath, read a book, listen to relaxing music.      Turn your phone off an hour before bed.  Reduce your caffeine – no coffee after 6 pm.
  • Go to bed at the same time, get up at the same time. Don’t be tempted to catch up on the sleep you’ve missed by lying in bed, or having a nap in the day.  Avoid sleeping in when you have had enough sleep.

Why? Regular sleeping hours programmes your brain and internal body clock to get used to the routine.

  • Only use bed for sleep or sex. Make your bedroom as dark as possible – use an eye mask or ear plugs if it’s noisy.
  • Work out what’s keeping you up at night. Keep a sleep diary. It uncovers lifestyle habits that are contributing to poor sleep. Manage your worry – look at ways you can reduce your stress.
  • Go to bed happy – keep a gratitude journal and note the things you are grateful for in that day.

Things NOT to do

  • Don’t watch the clock – face the clock the other way.
  • Don’t lie in bed worrying – get out of the bed. Go downstairs, don’t make yourself too comfortable.  Try writing your worries down.  Go back to bed when you feel more relaxed.
  • Don’t watch the television in bed, or listen to the radio.

Need help getting to get to sleep or managing worry?  Get in touch. I offer face-to-face and online therapy.