Are you getting enough? Sleep, that is. Lack of sleep has a real impact on our resilience, our ability to cope with the things that life throws at us. I recently spoke to Metro about the physical and emotional toll of sleep deprivation for parents of babies and young children (click here to view the full article). I also spoke to Sleepopolis all about what happens when sleep becomes weaponised in our relationships. So, how can you go about improving your sleep? Here are my top tips:
1/Break down your 'sleep hygiene' into manageable chunks and decisions. That way, you can take control of the things that you can change. This might involve:
Comfort, scent, lighting and noise in your sleep environment. I've even commented for an article about the role of teddy bears in giving us comfort at nighttime, click here to read it.
Boundaries around screen use
Thinking about your sleep as part of your 24-hour day. Ask yourself what behaviours you can change during the daytime that might impact on your sleep.
If you make changes, make yourself accountable. State your intentions out loud to yourself or somebody else, to encourage you to keep yourself in check.
2/ Explore the behaviours and thought patterns that are getting in the way of your sleep.
Are you getting in your own way? We all know the importance of lifestyle factors in order to achieve good quality sleep. But many of us are guilty of self-sabotage. Doing things that we know will get in the way of our sleep routine. This might be about screen use, or about what you're eating or drinking. Put yourself under the microscope, and be curious about why you are doing things that you know will stop you from sleeping well.
Notice if your thought patterns are blocking you from a good night's rest. If we are prone to overthinking or catastrophising then this can lead us to toss and turn at nighttime. Explore these during the day when you're calm, reflect on how you feel, chat to a friend, or consider speaking to a counsellor. Consider incorporating journalling, or another activity, into your routine as an outlet.
Be curious about what sleep and rest mean to you. We might assume that all of us consider sleep and rest to be relaxing and restorative. But if we have been through difficult or traumatic circumstances, we might associate sleep with fear or worry. Exploring this can help you to untangle what's really going on.
3/ Acknowledge and accept the things that you can't change
Sometimes life gets in the way. Work shifts, new babies, illness, noisy neighbours. The list goes on. If your sleep is being disrupted by something that's out of your control, then a certain amount of acceptance can be helpful.
Keen to explore more?
I love working with people to help them to understand themselves, their habits, and why they feel the way that they do. If you’d like to learn more, please get in touch. Click here to contact me or click here to book a free 30-minute introductory chat.