A man is lying in bed in a deep sleep

Insomnia is one of the most frustrating symptoms of stress or anxiety. When clients first come and see me to try to resolve their issues many of them complain about not being able to get to sleep, struggling with sleepless nights or waking in the night and not being able get back to sleep. This in turn leads them to feeling tired and fatigued during the day, more irritable, more stressed and less able to deal with life’s challenges.

In this article we’ll look at 7 habits to help you to conquer insomnia, get a better night’s sleep and wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day.

There are lots of good reasons to tackle insomnia when it first surfaces. Poor and reduced sleep can lead to decreased work performance, poor memory, reduce focus and attention and increase the risk of injury and accidents. It can also increase the risk of medical conditions such as obesity, heart disease & diabetes and can even reduce life expectancy. It also reduces our ability to deal with our stress and anxiety and so tackling insomnia is vital to increase our resilience.

Hypnosis for insomnia

There are a number of causes of insomnia such as ill health, medication, asthma or heavy drinking, but for many clients the main reason for their lack of sleep is an inability to switch off their mind at the end of the day. Hypnotic relaxation is therefore a great solution as it teaches clients to learn how to “let go” both physically and mentally (If you are interested in trying a hypnotic relaxation session why not try the recording below).

During hypnosis we can use suggestions for feeling relaxed, heavy and comfortable and this deep relaxation engages the parasympathetic nervous system. When this happens we can reduce the tension in our body and switch off those unhelpful thoughts. Clients very often come back after their first hypnosis session and remark on how much better they are sleeping, especially if they use their hypnosis recordings towards the end of the day.

However, there are other techniques that you can put in place to improve your chances of a good night’s sleep. Sleep hygiene, as it is called, has been described as “the key to sweet dreams” and below are 7 great habits that can help you dream peacefully.

#1 – Set fixed bed times and waking times

Stick to a good routine even on weekends and holidays. Repetition helps the brain and the body’s internal clock to recognise when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to wake up. Irregular sleep can play havoc with our natural rhythms. It’s also a good idea to have a regular bedtime ritual, perhaps a warm bath or reading a book.

#2 – Maintain a comfortable sleep environment

Make your bedroom a place to enjoy going to sleep in. Buy a good quality comfortable bed and make sure your sheets or duvet are a pleasure to get into. Keep the room dark, quiet and at a comfortable temperature. Make sure your bedroom is tidy and dust free and keep pets out of the room at night if they are a distraction.

#3 – Avoid napping

If you’ve had a bad night’s sleep it’s going to be very tempting to try to have a nap or to crawl back into bed when you get home. The best thing to do is to stick it out for as long as you can so that when you finally get to bed you are genuinely tired.

#4 – Watch what you eat and drink before bed

A heavy meal can disrupt a good sleep as much as going to bed hungry. Try not to drink too much before bedtime either as a full bladder could mean regular trips to the toilet. Also avoid alcohol, nicotine and caffeine before bed as they can also affect the quality of your sleep.

#5 – Avoid watching the clock

Checking what time it is, working out how long you’ve been awake or how much sleep you’ve missed just increases your anxiety about not being asleep. It’s best to ignore the clock our cover it up.

#6 – Turn off all electronic equipment 30 minutes before going to bed

In a world where we are always connected it is very tempting to send just one more email, post one more social media message or watch one more cat video. Having laptops, tablets and mobiles switched on in the evening keeps our brains stimulated at a time when we need to be slowing down and getting ready for rest and recuperation. The blue light emitted from electronic equipment also slows down the release of melatonin, the hormone that helps us to get to sleep.

#7 – Only use the bedroom for sleep and sex

People get up to all sorts in their bedroom, from watching TV and playing video games to catching up on work or doing the ironing. Start to use your bedroom for only 2 things; sleep and sex. This behavioural change can help you to identify your bedroom as a sanctuary from the outside world, a place to rest and relax.

What are your good sleep habits? Please let me know through the comments section at the bottom of this page.

To find out more about insomnia then visit the NHS website here.

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