Sleep is an essential part of everyday life. We all love a good night’s sleep and feel the fatigue and lack of concentration that comes from not sleeping well.
Sleep also contributes to our well-being and our feelings of happiness. Many of us go through such times in our lives where we experience problems with our sleep. Sleep disturbances, sleep delays, insomnia – whatever you want to say, sleep problems are a common experience, especially when you are feeling emotionally overwhelmed by looking at places of life on you.
There is a lot of general advice on things to help your sleep, referred to as sleep hygiene. This includes how many hours, going to bed at the same time each day, getting up at the same time every day, avoiding daytime sleep, exercising regularly (but only during the daytime), caffeine alcohol and Avoiding nicotine, not going to bed hungry or overflowing, and sleeping is a good routine.
One of the things I always recommend to my patients is to rethink their use of the screen, especially in their bedroom. You may find it extremely beneficial to change the way you use screens and electronic devices at night and leading to sleep.
In this digital age, most of us love our electronics, be it tablets, mobile phones, games consoles, laptops, computers, or TVs. But these things take up a lot of our time, and they do not help with sleeping.
In fact, they are proven to inhibit sleep. They can suppress the body’s ability to release melatonin – the sleeping hormone. Therefore, avoiding these things can help you sleep better.
We have a habit of checking our equipment at night and reaching first thing in the morning. Remember these points when you find yourself reaching for your device:
- They stimulate your brain.
- The light emitting some devices can interfere with your internal body clock.
- Devices can be highly addictive, and can also be eaten at bedtime.
- Checking work emails at night can cause anxiety and stress, which can cause your brain to think about a particular issue / task.
Sleep hygiene is really important to us, and if you haven’t already, I would recommend thinking about all these things.
In addition to sleep hygiene, here are some natural things to help you sleep, which you can try to do directly, some of which you may not have come across before. Even with the best routines and behaviors around sleep, we can still struggle to get some decent shut-eye, and ways to deal with it can be invaluable.
Quoting the Dalai Lama,
“Sleep is the best meditation.”
1. Mindfulness and breathing
Mindfulness- Yes, here it is again. We’ve all heard of it, and you’ve guessed right – it can help your sleep and is proven to do so.
Just looking at it, Mindfulness is the ability to purposefully and non-judgmental notice our internal and external experiences as they occur and without feedback. When we cannot sleep, we experience unwanted thoughts and unpleasant feelings – the way we quickly get rid of, so that we can sleep.
Mindfulness does not stop our attention from trying to think about these things, so as to accept that these thoughts and feelings will come and then register their presence without struggling against them. Then, as you lie still in your bed, move your attention to your breath and simply count 1 on each breath and 2 on each exhale. Do this very slowly, which will fill your lungs and become empty.
Some people feel that tuning to this rhythm can make them sleepy. Before you decide it doesn’t work. Naturally, our attention may divert. When this happens, just resume counting your breaths. Allow your body to relax with each breath as you feel calm, and reach the edge of sleepiness.
2. Weighted Blanket
You might have heard of these before, but they are really something else. Weighted blankets are actually what sound like heavy blankets, which are just the right weight to apply deep, evenly distributed pressure on your body, resulting in a calming effect that results in relaxation and sleep. Is helpful
Some have described the feeling of a loaded blanket as being embraced or held. There has been a lot of research on the effectiveness of using weighted blankets, and a recent study in the Journal of Clinical and Sleep Medicine has confirmed the benefits of their use. They have helped many people reduce sleep onset time (take time to sleep) and the number of times they wake up at night.
In addition to the deep pressure and feeling experienced by the use of a deep blanket, they have also been shown to increase serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in controlling sleep. They all benefit from a heavy blanket.
Learn about the benefits of sleeping with a weighted blanket here: Weighted blanket for anxiety and insomnia: how to work
3. Yoga Nidra
Yoga is one of the fastest growing forms of nidra yoga, and guess what, it can help you get right to sleep. Yoga nidra is a technique to support your body’s natural relaxation response. It has been noted as therapeutic for many health conditions.
It is essentially a type of sleeping experience. This is a type of yoga where you don’t really have to move. You lie still under your dua – comfortable and warm – and listening to a recording is spoken in sleep.
Think of it as a kind of relaxation yoga in bed, you need to listen to a yoga nidra recording to help bring your mind and body to a restful sleeping position. To try this technique you can find the recording on YouTube. I do not know anyone who has not slept after a session of yoga sleep.
4. White Noise
If you are someone who experiences slight noise as a disturbance in your sleep, you may find white noise helpful. White noise occurs when sound waves of a broad spectrum of frequencies are combined to form a sound that prevents background noise, reducing your attention to external sound. By doing this, white noise acts as a continuous ambient sound to help mask the surrounding noise.
Many people find the rhythm of white noise to be soothing and comfortable. There are a lot of white noise recordings available on YouTube before you go out and buy a white noise machine to test whether it can help you.
With some level of persistence, try to be consistent. Many things do not work the first time, but that does not mean that they will not work at all. It may be helpful to move away from the idea of a quick fix to focus on experimenting with a flexible attitude.
From personal experience, changing the focus from trying to accept sleep may not do so in a way that removes pressure and helps reduce sleep stress.
The more we struggle to sleep, the more frustrated we can feel, and the more reluctant we can become and experience unwanted thoughts and feelings. It can remove us from stress and anxiety. This actually increases awakening, the nervous system becomes increasingly active and, as a result, worsens sleep problems.
The purpose of acceptance is to accept that we will experience unwanted thoughts and feelings. We must accept that we cannot sleep well enough to allow discomfort to be present rather than looking at the problems we are experiencing, and focusing on resting and struggling against it.
The more problems we are having with sleep, the more our attitude towards them, the more desire is to experience poor sleep. This often leads to less conflict, less excitement, and interestingly, an improvement in sleep levels.
Next time you hit the sack, gently try to say to yourself, “I can’t sleep, sleep is sometimes hard for me, I accept that it can be difficult again tonight , But I will focus on resting my eyes and my body. ” To reduce the intensity of the struggle you are having with sleep, try these techniques for several nights.
Hopefully, you are now equipped with some more techniques to manage sleep difficulties. Remember that like most people, many of us do not get the exact number of hours every single night. Some nights we get less, and some nights we get more. I certainly do.
There is an acceptance that sleep fluctuates, and at worst, you may feel tired. But you know that there will not be a catastrophe that you will face, and that you will go through that day like you always do.
As always, if you have tried a lot of things to help you fall asleep, but are still experiencing difficulty, consider seeing your doctor.
More things to help you sleep
Featured Photo Credit: Gregory Pappa via unsplash.com