A good night’s sleep is essential for maintaining sound physical and mental health. If you’re experiencing poor sleep patterns, this can be highly disruptive to everyday life.
You may be experiencing a constant difficulty in falling asleep, or you may be unable to wake up in the morning. You may also have bad quality sleep, in which you constantly wake up in the middle of the night. These sleep patterns can cause feelings of exhaustion throughout the day, difficulties concentrating, physical discomforts such as headaches or nausea, and forgetfulness.
Following are a few useful tips to improving your sleep:
Try to mentally tick off each step on this list to gradually improve your sleep hygiene.
- I have dimmed all of the lights, and made my room quiet and comfortable
- I have switched off all of my devices at least 1 hour before bed
- I have avoided eating or drinking anything at least 2 hours before bed
- I have replaced caffeine, alcohol and tobacco each day this week
- I have gone to the bed at the same time every night of this week
- I have set an alarm and woken up at the same time every morning
- I have practiced deep breathing before bed (see below)
Since our minds are so active throughout the day, it is important to slow them down before bed. Deep breathing is an effective relaxation technique for slowing us down and preparing us for a better night’s rest.
- Make sure the room is quiet, dark, and comfortable. Sit up straight or lay down in bed, whichever you prefer.
- Close your eyes, and focus on your natural breathing rhythm for a minute or two.
- Now you will start the deep breathing technique. In your mind, count to 4 while you slowly inhale until your lungs are completely filled.
- Count to 4 again while you exhale. Notice how your belly button sinks toward your spine as you slowly release all of the air.
- Repeat step 3 and 4 for approximately 5 minutes, or until you feel comfortable with the breathing rate and completely relaxed. If thoughts enter into your head, don’t force them away. Let them pass through and then return your focus back to your breathing.
I’ve tried all of the techniques, nothing has helped. What do I do?
In many cases, sleep difficulties are perpetuated by unhelpful thoughts and beliefs around sleep. Seeing a psychologist that specialises in sleep can allow you to uncover the reasons for poor sleep, challenge unhelpful thought patterns which may be contributing to ongoing sleep difficulties, and implement evidence-based strategies to improve sleep hygiene. Speak to our team to book an appointment with one of our practitioners who are experienced in helping improve sleep.