‘I have a wonderful night’s sleep. I wake feeling rested and energized’
Having a wonderful night’s sleep is vitally important. It balances our body, mind and spirit. Sleep is where we process, rest, restore and heal. Difficulty with sleep can mean we have trouble falling asleep, wake up often during the night, wake up too early in the morning, oversleep, or all of these. Lack of restful sleep can affect your wellbeing. It can make you tired, slow and agitated. This can have a ripple effect on your productivity, enjoyment of life and your relationships. Most adults need about 8 hours of sleep each night. During times of stress and healing you may need more than 8 hours.
We process things during sleeping
‘I adapt to change easily’
Our brains are constantly processing information. When we are very busy, experiencing change, or going through an emotional shift our mind can be busy processing at sleep time. This can interfere with a peaceful night’s sleep. Giving yourself extra quite time and sleep will help you heal peacefully.
What's adding to my sleep problem?
‘I nurture my soul’
When people have trouble sleeping it's usually because they are stressed, had too many stimulants, or are going through change. If your angry, anxious or depressed it can make it hard to relax enough to have peaceful sleep. When we are too stagnant physically and emotionally this can make us unhappy which can also result in poor sleep.
Causes of poor sleep
‘I create good habits, that help me sleep’
- Healing/processing an emotional issue
- Too many stimulants like coffee, sugar, television, social media can lead to an overactive body and mind
- Having drugs and alcohol can interfere with your brains normal, healing sleep pattern
- Focusing on hurtful, negative or stressful things
- Being too hot or cold
- Not eating enough, or too much
- Exercising before bed time
- Being over or under active
- Watching or reading negative things before bed. This can put you in a negative or
- fearful mindset, making it harder to relax into peaceful sleep.
- Not taking time to unwind before bed
Whats happening in your life that's making it hard to sleep?
- What is stressing you out?
- Are you trying to block something out during the day?
- Are you overloading yourself with processed foods, stimulants and by being too busy?
- Are you enjoying life?
- Are you living your life with purpose?
‘I am safe. It was only a dream’
If you are processing things that are frightening, you may be more prone to nightmares. Nightmares don’t always show us exactly what happened, but they do tell us how we are feeling. When people have been traumatised it can be difficult for them to feel safe enough to relax and have a good night’s sleep. Sometimes when we are healing from something we can avoid thinking about it during wake time. We can make ourselves busy and find other things to focus on. When we are in bed with no distractions our memories and feelings can come to the surface. This can be really hard to deal with. It can make falling asleep hard. When we do get to sleep our mind is still processing our trauma and we can end up having a nightmare.
Some people’s trauma is so significant that they think about it day and night, even while sleeping. There’s no reprieve. If this is happening to you it might be worth speaking to a counsellor. You don’t have to go through something as tough as this on your own. Sometimes if we fall straight back to sleep after a nightmare, we have another nightmare. Doing something that helps you feel safe and calm before you fall back asleep can help.
Tips if you wake up from a nightmare
‘I am safe. I am secure’
- Do what you need to do to feel safe
- Cuddle your pet, partner, pillow, or teddy bear
- Avoid drugs and alcohol
- Journal - Keeping a journal is a good way to get all your thoughts and fears out paper. If your mind is racing, writing everything down without monitoring it can help you to release your worries and gain clarity.
- Meditate – Listen to a positive guided meditation as you fall back asleep. This will change your minds focus from anxiety thoughts to positive ones. Even if it is playing in the background your unconscious mind will be affected by it. There's some great guided CD's to help you sleep.
- Sleep hypnosis CD by a qualified hypnotherapist – These CD’s can give you a deep sense of calm. Always listen to hypnosis CD’s when you are fully awake first, so you know you are comfortable with all its messages. These CD's are designed to have a deep effect on your subconscious. So you want to make sure it's right for you.
- Have a shower or bath - Imagine all your worries being washed down the drain.
- Feel the water cleansing and purifying you.
- Talk to someone
- Phone a support lin
- Read a positive book
- Do some calming yoga poses
- The past is over - If you are having flashbacks about a past trauma remember that you are no longer in that situation. They can't hurt you anymore. You are strong and in control of your life. You are powerful.
'I create a sacred space for healing'
The best way to have a good night’s sleep is to go to bed relaxed and at peace. This is a little harder to do if you are feeling terrible. Research shows that when people are struggling with anxiety or depression they are much more likely to have trouble sleeping. By addressing the things that are making you feel bad you will often find that your sleep will naturally improve.
Tips for sleep success:
- Go to bed the same time every night, and don't sleep in - If you oversleep you won’t be sleepy at your regular bed time. This will mean you will have trouble falling and staying asleep.
- Don't eat or drink a lot before bedtime - Especially foods that are spicy, fatty or filled with sugar. As your body works hard to digest the food you will find it harder to fall asleep. If you drink too much liquid before sleeping, you'll wake up repeatedly in the night for trips to the bathroom. Eat a light dinner about 2 hours before sleeping.
- Avoid too much caffeine and nicotine - They are addictive stimulants and keep you awake. Smokers experience withdrawal symptoms at night, and they have a harder time both falling asleep and waking up.
- Reduce sugar – Sugar is a stimulant. If you eat a lot during the day, it can keep you up at night. This is doubly true if you eat sugar at night.
- Exercise- Exercise is an important part of being healthy. If you're trying to sleep better, the best time to exercise is in the morning to afternoon. If you exercise at night, it can give you energy and keep you up at night.
- Room temperature - A slightly cool room will help you sleep. This mimics your internal temperature drops during sleep and makes it more comfortable for you.
- Sleep only at night - This will mean you are tired at bed time. If you work nights, keep your window covered from sunlight, so it doesn’t interfere with your body's internal clock, and disrupt your sleep.
- Create a peaceful bedroom - Make your bedroom place for rest and nurturing. Have calming colours such as pastels. Clean up all the clutter. A clear room helps you have a clear mind.
- Journal – If you write your thoughts and feelings out during the day, or at bed time it can help you have a clear mind. This will make it easier for you to relax into a calm sleep. If you wake up during the night stressed, or unable to relax back into sleep, you can write down what’s on your mind. Once you have written it down, let it go.
- Reduce stress in your life
Create a peaceful bedtime ritual
- Having a bedtime ritual can sooth the soul. Creating a time for self-nurturing, and winding down can rejuvenate and balance you. Setting aside this time every night prepares you physically and psychologically for a restful night’s sleep.
- Spend some time getting organised for the next day – Planning your time helps you focus on what’s important, and feel more in control. You might do a list of priorities, or pack the kids school bags. Anything that helps you feel organised.
- Do something relaxing and positive before bed – Do things that nurture your soul. I love reading something happy before bed. I believe if I’m thinking happy thoughts when I go to sleep I’m more likely to have happy dreams. Happy dreams mean I wake up happy too.
- An hour before bed turn off all technical devices including your television and computer.
- Have some peace and quiet – This will give your brain a chance to relax into its own peaceful rhythm. You could do some mediation, yoga, have a warm bath, listen to soothing music, snuggle up and talk to your kids or partner in bed.
- Spend some time reflecting - My Nan used to say ‘You learn something new every day’. Giving yourself time to reflect every day will help you grow and evolve. This is going to make your whole life easier, including sleep.
- Let go -The best thing you can do to resolve problems during sleep time is to get a good night’s sleep. Worrying is only going to block this from happening. The situation will still be there to be dealt with in the morning.
- Meditate for 10 minutes to calm and clear the mind right before bed
- Gratitude Journal – Writing down 5 things you are grateful for will put you in a happier frame of mind. This can be especially helpful if you’re feeling sad or negative.