A good night’s sleep has positive effects for us all, but in modern times with pressurised schedules this is an aspect of our daily living which may not be prioritised. Springtime is an ideal time to kick start some new sleep habits with a view to boosting your sleep, or just trying something new.
1. If possible, avoid using electronic devices at bedtime.
2. If possible, avoid using electronic devices through the night.
3. Set an ideal sleep time and try to loosely plan around it.
4. Check that your bedroom is not too hot or cold.
5. It may help to keep your bedroom dark or use an eye mask if this isn’t possible.
6. Try to build a relaxing activity into your bedtime routine even if it is for 5 minutes before actually going to bed. For example reading a book or having a warm drink.
7. Avoid arguments or stressful conversations before or during bedtime.
8. The effects of caffeine may impact sleep quality so set an ideal time (e.g. 14:00) for your last daily intake of caffeine.
9. Have a ‘thought box’ next to your bed. In the case of you being unable to sleep because or circular or worrying thoughts, write each one down on a scrap of paper and put them in the box so you can attend to them at a different time.
10.If you are still experiencing circular thoughts at night, try to focus on your breathing and making it slower. You could place a hand on your abdomen to feel the rhythm of your breathing and then try to slow it down.
Occasionally even with good sleep habits we may suffer from chronic sleep problems, such as early-morning waking, difficulty going or returning to sleep or nightmares.
Everyone will have the odd night or period of time where good sleep may be difficult (e.g. before a work deadline, following a major life event such as a house move or bereavement), however if these types of sleep problems persist and become your ‘normal’ then you may benefit from seeking further guidance.
Speaking to one of our psychologists or counsellors may be useful if you would like to discuss your sleep difficulties further and explore whether Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is an option for you.