Top Tips For a Better Night’s Sleep
As a stress and anxiety specialist, I work with people with various challenges. GAD (General Anxiety Disorder), work related stress, fears and phobias and performance anxiety are all very common and although I cannot ‘cure’ everyone, I believe hypnotherapy has a fantastic track record in these areas compared to other approaches.
One thing that often runs alongside these mental health issues is poor quality sleep. The fact is that anxiety and depression are closely correlated to sleep issues; insomnia being the main one.
We don’t know whether insomnia causes anxiety and depression or if it’s the other way around but one thing is clear; sleep is one of the main ‘pillars’ of health and vitality.
In my opinion, no matter what life improvements you are planning, if you are not sleeping long enough or well enough, everything else becomes more difficult.
Waking up lethargic and uninspired, like a zombie from the Walking Dead stops you living the life you deserve. If you are suffering from poor sleep, you won’t have the motivation and energy required to accomplish your goals.
Insomnia is a huge problem worldwide. About 1 in 10 people suffer with insomnia and over half of women in the UK complain that they regularly feel tired, irritable and exhausted. Of course, kids can do that to us, but a lack of sleep can make a monster out of us all!
Insomnia sufferers report a host of unwelcome symptoms:
- Lack of focus and forgetfulness
- Low energy
- Feeling irritable
- Being over-emotional
- Anxiety and depression
Crucially, a lack of sleep is now being linked to weight-gain, mostly due to increased food and and alcohol cravings.
For me personally, when I’m especially tired or stressed, I know that doughnuts and unhealthy, sugary food is more tempting to me. I’m 6 feet five, in decent shape (ask my mum) and eat pretty well, most of the time but there have been occasions when I say ‘sod it’ to the healthy voice inside me and reach out for something sugar coated.
Perhaps you are the same?
Sleep is a funny thing really. When we are sleeping like babies, we do not give the topic a thought. But ask someone with insomnia how important just a few days of uninterrupted sleep is, and they will offer you their right arm for the privilege.
Sleep is a natural process which we just ‘do’ unconsciously and as soon as the process becomes a problem, a thing or something to be beaten, we give it the power it needs to grow into a monster!
Don’t try to sleep!
Ever tried desperately to get to sleep? The more you try, the harder it gets! This is largely because, by struggling and battling with your mind, you increase your own levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline which then keep you in high alert, arousal mode. Not ideal for successful sleep!
So what can you do if you find yourself stuck in a pattern of poor sleep? I have many tips, techniques to help people with insomnia but these two are among the most important:
Change your own thinking about sleep
The negative effects of impaired sleep are very real, but sleep researchers discovered something really important:
Excessive worrying about sleep is more detrimental to health than sleep loss itself!
So the key here, is to look honestly at your negative thoughts and beliefs about sleep and to change or update them. These thoughts are very understandable. But are they helpful or 100% true all the time?
Make your mind a sanctuary
Many people rush around all day, are constantly on laptops or devices just before bed and then expect to enjoy perfect sleep.
A better way is to set aside thirty minutes of quiet relaxation before you go to bed. Perhaps you could practice meditation, plan an exotic break or simply do nothing.
By doing this, your brain will have chance to release the stresses of the day and prepare for sleep.
These two top tips can make a difference but at the end of the day, getting out of the negative cycle of poor sleep can take time and discipline.
The problem lies in your own mind and the solution usually comes from changing things such as your inner beliefs and thoughts about sleep rather than buying an expensive mattress or investing in expensive supplements (although these can have benefits too).
Hypnotherapy to improve sleep and overcome insomnia
There are several credible treament options for insomnia but doesn’t it make perfect sense to take advantage of the therapy which is actually associated closely with sleep itself?!
The state of hypnosis is not the same as sleep but it’s very similar to the kind of deep relaxation we experience, just before we drift off to sleep!
Hypnotherapy encourages the mind to drift inwards and pay less and less attention to what is going on around us. It creates a wonderful state of relaxed focus on the thoughts, emotions and memories that make us feel good. This sets up the perfect environment for sleep to happen naturally.
New for 2016 – The Better Sleep Retreat
If you are feeling lethargic and run-down due to poor sleep I can help. On April 30th 2016 at the Captains Club, I am holding a specialist one day workshop or ‘retreat’ which will give you the tools to start sleeping well again – no hypnosis required!
If you would like to find out more about this unique day and how it can transform your life just click the link below: