It’s ironic that not being able to sleep at night can be a nightmare in it’s own right. Today I am going to give you some tips for what to do if you can’t sleep. Getting a good sleep pattern is essential to a healthy lifestyle.
Having a hard time falling asleep?
Or is your problem staying asleep throughout the night?
Not getting a good night’s sleep?
Tossing and turning?
Many years ago, when my life was very different to what it is today, I would lay awake at night, simply unable to fall asleep. It was so frustrating.
So many negative thoughts would be floating around in my mind, I’d be worrying about so many things, and it made it impossible for me to fall asleep. Consciously I was desperate to switch of my mind and just go to sleep, but my subconscious was feeding me thoughts of all the problems I was dealing with in my life that it made sleep virtually impossible. This went on for months. It made me so tired all through the next working day, that it was affecting my performance in a very negative way.
The situation was worsened, and sleep made even harder, by the fact that I would lie there worrying about not being able to get to sleep. Thoughts such as “I’ll be exhausted tomorrow”, “I’ll never get to sleep”, “I must sleep, it’s ruining my health”, ran through my mind. The effect of this was that I was making myself feel tense and anxious and less likely to drop off to sleep, which in turn leads to more worrying thoughts.
Thankfully this is no longer a problem.
Are sleep problems making it hard for you to get through the day?
We all know that sleep is essential for good health.
If you frequently go without sleep, or have many wakeful nights, you will build up a ‘sleep debt’, which you will eventually have to pay off. It really does bring with it a load of problems.
Long term sleep problems can lead to fatigue during the day, and cause irritability and difficulty concentrating. If you are very short of sleep, your body may also take ‘microsleeps’ when you fall asleep very briefly during the day. This can be dangerous, especially if you are driving, operating machinery or doing other skilled or potentially dangerous tasks.
Sometimes, lack of sleep contributes significantly to the development of serious mental health problems.
People can become very distressed when they feel they are not getting a good night’s sleep, which can make it harder to get off to sleep.
Allowing your sleep problems to go unchecked may lead to accidents or make it harder to deal with stress, solve problems, or recover from sickness or injury. Sleep problems can impact your life at home and at work, as well as your relationships.
But what is a normal amount of sleep? How much sleep do we need?
The answer is that people vary greatly in their need for sleep. The most common answer for this, that I agree with is that you need seven to eight hours sleep every night. Although it is true that the amount of sleep a person needs varies throughout their life. For example, as demonstrated by my beautiful granddaughter, Amelia Mae, a new born baby spends 16-17 hours sleeping per day, and as she grows she will require less sleep, possibly 11 hours around the age of five years and maybe eight – nine hours as a teenager. By the time someone reaches their thirties they may require less than eight hours, and as time progresses this becomes less and less. Many people in their seventies require less than six hours sleep.
There are a number of reasons why sleep problems can develop. But the most common is stress, anxiety and worry – sleep is easily affected by how someone is feeling. If someone is worrying about something or suffering from stress, very often they will find it hard to get off to sleep.
Good sleep strategies are essential to deep, restorative sleep you can count on, night after night. By learning to avoid common enemies of sleep and trying out a variety of healthy sleep-promoting techniques, you can discover your personal prescription to a good night’s rest.
One of the most important steps in overcoming sleep difficulties is finding out any possible causes and trying to look for solutions.
In so many people’s cases it’s that they’re worrying about their problems. Their mind is working overtime thinking about these problems , they’re just going round and round, and won’t stop.
Here is what you need to do.
- Get out of bed and sit somewhere quiet and comfortable with a pen and paper.
- Write down the problems you are thinking about.
- Taking each problem, write down everything you can possibly think you might do to solve the problem.
- Choose the most helpful solution and write down all the steps you are going to need to take to do it. Write as much as you can.
- Write down any obstacles and how you might tackle them.
When you are finished say to yourself firmly “OK. That is it for now. I can’t do any more about it at this time of night. I am not going to let myself worry about it till the morning”.
Spend at least half an hour winding down, reading a paper or listening to some music. When you start to feel sleepy go back to bed.
If you still find yourself worrying, keep saying to yourself “I’ve dealt with my worry for now. Worrying about it now will not help. I’ll deal with it tomorrow”.
Sleep well tonight!