Nearly 1/3rd of adults get less than 6 hours sleep a night.
Insomnia is so common, a lot of people think it’s normal, (especially as we age). Less than half of all people who are chronically sleep deprived do anything about it.
Holistic therapies such as Reflexology & Reiki are great for helping to reduce tension & anxiety levels and promoting a good night’s sleep. If you would like to find out more information about how they can help, then please contact me
Top Tips For A Good Night’s Sleep
Avoid Caffeine, alcohol*, tobacco and other chemical stimulants before bed (6 hours before bedtime). This includes coffee, tea (including green tea), chocolate, cola, some headache pills & other medications. (*Alcohol might help you get to sleep but can cause disturbed sleep later in the night)
Don’t use an electronic screen within an hour of bedtime. They emit a blue light that inhibits melatonin production (the sleep hormone). (If you HAVE to use a screen late into the evening, you can dim the screen or get amber tinted glasses which help to filter out blue light!)
Food & Drink
A big late dinner can cause a bad night’s sleep, but don’t go to bed hungry either. Snacks that help to promote good sleep include – nuts, seeds, dairy & turkey(!). They contain a chemical that converts to serotonin in your body to help with sleep.
Establishing a bedtime routine is key. Try to do the same things every night to help you wind down such as a bath / shower (using Lavender oil is great), reading or listening to music – all great for removing the tension of the day. Having the same bed time & wake time EVERY day (weekends & holidays included) also helps to promote restful sleep at night.
Try and exercise at least 20-30 minutes 3 times a week, but not too close to bedtime. This will help to physically tire you out.
Keep your bedroom cool, quiet & dark at night (consider blackout blinds in summer if the light mornings are an issue). If noise is an issue at night consider using a fan, the white noise can cut out other less regular sounds that might disturb your sleep. Pillows & mattresses, you are used to them, but how comfortable are they really? How old are they? (10+ years?)
Bed is for Sleep
Only go to bed when you are truly tired. If you are not asleep within 20 minutes get up & go into another room & do something relaxing; reading, listening to music, low lighting – NO Screens / TV, they are too stimulating for the brain. Write a list & do a brain dump onto a piece of paper if there are things bothering you.
If you have found yourself woken by a child, noisy neighbour, pet or bad dream you might find it difficult to relax back into sleep. There are 2 different sorts of relaxation techniques that might help you get back to sleep; one for physical relaxation if you are feeling physically tense (a), or the other for reducing mental anxiety (b). These are taken from The Good Sleep Handbook by Colin Espie.
(a) Progressive muscle relaxation
” … Turn your attention to your arms and hands. Create some tension in your hands and arms by pressing your fingers into the palms of your hands and making fists. Do that with both hands now. Feel the tension in your hands, feel the tension in your fingers and your wrists, feel the tension in your forearms. Notice what it is like. Keep it going … and now relax. Let those hands flop. Let them do whatever they want to do; just let them relax. Breathing slowly and deeply, you will find that your fingers will just straighten out and flop, and your hands and arms will feel more relaxed. Allow them to sink into the bed; just allow your arms to be heavy. Breathing slowly and deeply, thinking the word ”relax” each time you breathe out, and finding that your hands and arms just relax more and more and more. Your arms and your hands are so heavy and rested. It’s almost as if you couldn’t be bothered to move them. Let go of the energy and tension that was in the muscles there, breathing slowly and deeply. Both your hands, both your arms, heavy and rested and relaxed … “
(b) Imagery training
” … Keeping your eyes gently closed, concentrate on picturing a pleasant scene. Picture yourself standing on a grassy slope. Look down at your feet – there is green grass all around you, the kind that grows well in the summer months. It looks thick and strong – it looks healthy. Just ahead of you, you will see there is the beginning of a path, and as you look down that path, you can see it winds down through some bushes, to a beautiful sandy beach, and beyond to the sea, a deep, clear blue. You can see the contrasts of all these colours, the rich green of the grass, the pale brown of the path, the yellow gold of the sand, and the deep blue of the sea. And as you stand on that grassy slope, as you look around you, you feel the breeze, warm and gentle on your cheek, and you feel the sun on your head, warming the back of your neck. It is a beautiful morning … “