All of us suffer with not being able to sleep at some point in our lives, and I’m sure if you have ever experienced it you’ll understand how frustrating it can be lying there in the dark trying desperately to drift off. Not being able to sleep can have a huge impact on your life, with long term bouts of insomnia affecting our mood, our energy levels and our general health.
The reasons for not being able to sleep can vary from person to person. It could be the inability to switch off, you might be in pain, you might find that as soon as your head hits the pillow, your mind begins to overanalyse whatever is going on or has been going on in your life. Or, if you’re anything like me, your mind might jump to overanalysing things that haven’t even happened yet. Considering you’re lying down, all of this mental activity can feel pretty exhausting.
So I thought I’d write a post with some tips that I’ve picked up along the way that have helped me to get to sleep and hopefully they might help you or someone you know too.
1. Tidy your bedroom
Now this is something I need to work on, but going to sleep in a tidy space can really make a big difference to being able to relax. Try when tidying, to place any clocks out of view. It can be really stressful to constantly be reminded of the time and having the time in plain view can start the dreaded “well if I get to sleep right now, I’d only have x amount of sleep before I have to get up” thoughts. Also, having the room as dark as you can, can help you to drift off.
2. Have a hot bath
Having a hot shower or bath before bed can be really useful as the drop in temperature from when you get out of the bath or shower will result in you feeling sleepy. Using a bubble bath or body wash that has specific ingredients in such as lavender can really help you to relax too. I really like the Radox “Sleep Easy” bubble bath and you can normally pick this up for £1 which is even better!
3. Prepare for the next day before you go to bed
Knowing that you’re all set for the next day can really help with being able to relax. Having things like what you’re going to wear or having your lunch ready to take to work so it’s one less thing to do in the morning can make a big difference. For more information on how to have a good morning you might find this post interesting.
4. If you’re still awake after 15 minutes, get up and do something else
I heard this tip during my time shadowing a clinical psychologist and I have felt the benefits of this advice myself! If you find that you are trying to get to sleep for more than 15 minutes and are getting nowhere – get up! Go out of your bedroom and do something else like make some toast, have a glass of water, or read in dimmed light then after around 15-20 minutes go back to bed and try again. Bed needs to be a place for sleep not a place for worrying about not sleeping. Each time I’ve tried this method, it’s worked a treat!
5. Write down your worries
If you find yourself worrying about things as you’re trying to go to sleep, one thing to try could be to get up and write down a list of all your worries big or small, with the promise of trying to sort them out when you can. Or alternatively after writing them all down you can throw the piece of paper in the bin! The act of writing it down can help to clear your mind a little, even if it is just for a short time hopefully it will be long enough for you to fall asleep.
6. Meditate, meditate, meditate!
I’ve found using meditation techniques when trying to get to sleep to be so, so helpful. Just the simple act of doing a ‘body scan’ where you start from the feet up and simply try to relax each part of your body one by one, or simply just notice how that part of your body feels at that time without reacting no matter whether it feels good or bad, can be really effective. It can sometimes help to imagine that part of your body ‘sinking’ into the bed. Or possibly the simplest mindfulness technique could be to focus on nothing but your breath. Just breathe in and out slowly, and each time your mind wanders, without judging yourself refocus on your breath until you fall asleep.
I’d love for you to get in touch with what helps you to fall asleep or to let me know if you find any of these tips useful! Leave me a comment below or tweet me @makingitmindful.
For more information on how to sleep well visit:
If you have any concerns regarding your sleep please visit your local pharmacist or your doctor, who will be able to offer you some further advice and support.