sleep, insomnia, hypnosis

12 tips for a Good Night’s Sleep

Falling asleep may seem like an impossible dream when you’re awake at 3 am., but good sleep is more under your control than you might think. Following healthy sleep habits can make the difference between restlessness and restful slumber, even for those whose sleep is affected by insomnia, jet lag, or shift work.

 

#1 Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol, Nicotine, and Other Chemicals that Interfere with Sleep

Caffeinated products decrease a person’s quality of sleep.

As any coffee lover knows, caffeine is a stimulant that can keep you awake. So avoid caffeine (found in coffee, tea, chocolate, cola, and some pain relievers) for four to six hours before bedtime. Similarly, smokers should refrain from using tobacco products too close to bedtime.

Although alcohol may help bring on sleep, after a few hours it acts as a stimulant, increasing the number of awakenings and generally decreasing the quality of sleep later in the night.

 

#2 Turn Your Bedroom into a Sleep-Inducing Environment

A quiet, dark, and cool environment can help promote sound slumber. Lower the volume of outside noise with earplugs or a “white noise” appliance. Use heavy curtains, blackout shades, or an eye mask to block light. Keep the temperature comfortably cool—between 60 and 75°F—and the room well ventilated.

It may help to limit your bedroom activities to sleep and sex only. Keeping computers, TVs, and work materials out of the room will strengthen the mental association between your bedroom and sleep.

 

#3 Establish a Soothing Pre-Sleep Routine

Light reading before bed is a good way to prepare for sleep.

Ease the transition from wake time to sleep time with a period of relaxing activities an hour or so before bed. Avoid stressful, stimulating activities—doing work, discussing emotional issues. Physically and psychologically stressful activities can cause the body to secrete the stress hormone cortisol, which is associated with increasing alertness.

 

#4 Go to Sleep When You’re Truly Tired

Struggling to fall sleep just leads to frustration. If you’re not asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed, go to another room, and do something relaxing, like reading or listening to music until you are tired enough to sleep.

 

#5 Don’t Be a Night-time Clock-Watcher

Staring at a clock in your bedroom, either when you are trying to fall asleep or when you wake in the middle of the night, can actually increase stress, making it harder to fall asleep. Turn your clock’s face away from you.

And if you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep in about 20 minutes, get up and engage in a quiet, restful activity such as reading or listening to music. And keep the lights dim; bright light can stimulate your internal clock. When your eyelids are drooping and you are ready to sleep, return to bed.

 

#6 Use Light to Your Advantage

Natural light keeps your internal clock on a healthy sleep-wake cycle. So let in the light first thing in the morning and get out of the office for a sun break during the day.

 

#7 Keep Your Internal Clock Set with a Consistent Sleep Schedule

Having a regular sleep schedule helps to ensure better quality and consistent sleep.

Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day sets the body’s “internal clock” to expect sleep at a certain time night after night. Try to stick as closely as possible to your routine on weekends to avoid a Monday morning sleep hangover.

 

#8 Nap Early—Or Not at All

Many people make naps a regular part of their day. However, for those who find falling asleep or staying asleep through the night problematic, afternoon napping may be one of the culprits. This is because late-day naps decrease sleep drive. If you must nap, it’s better to keep it short and before 5 p.m.

 

#9 Lighten Up on Evening Meals

Eating a pepperoni pizza at 10 p.m. may be a recipe for insomnia. Finish dinner several hours before bedtime and avoid foods that cause indigestion. If you get hungry at night, snack on foods that (in your experience) won’t disturb your sleep.

 

#10 Balance Fluid Intakes

Drink enough fluid at night to keep from waking up thirsty—but not so much and so close to bedtime that you will be awakened by the need for a trip to the bathroom.

#11 Exercise Early

Exercise helps promote restful sleep if it is done several hours before you go to bed.

Exercise can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly—as long as it’s done at the right time. Exercise stimulates the body to secrete the stress hormone cortisol, which helps activate the alerting mechanism in the brain. Try to finish exercising at least three hours before bed or work out earlier in the day.

 

#12 TAKE ACTION

Take action today and implement some of these handy hints. Some of these tips will be easier to include in your daily and nightly routine than others. However, if you stick with them, your chances of achieving restful sleep will improve.

 

 

Richard Scott combines psychology, NLP and CBT with over 10 years’ professional, full-time experience in traditional and modern hypnosis to deliver the fastest, most successful results.

He specialises in stress and anxiety control, weight management, confidence and self-esteem, and empowering women.

If you need assistance at turning failures into successes, Richard can help you get motivated, get in contact for a free rapid change consultation.

How to sleep better

image

For many of us, getting enough sleep at night has turned out to be a luxury.

Poor diet, lack of exercise, staring at back-lit screens for hours, stress and many other factors have thrown our circadian rhythm completely out of whack.

Thankfully, it doesn’t really take much efforts to improve our sleep patterns and wake up feeling refreshed and revitalised the next day.

Try out these tips:

Cardio in the morning.

Don’t think that what you do in the morning doesn’t affect your evening rituals.

Exercising in the morning is an incredible way to improve your sleep patterns.

Not only does an early morning cardio boosts your physical and mental health, it also gives you a reason to get up from bed early, and make you feel sleepy in the evening.

Snack on some fruit.

Are you used to having a midnight snack? Try a handful of grapes, berries or an orange.

A small amount of carbohydrates before bedtime helps your body produce melatonin – the hormone that regulates sleep.

Cut back on sugary drinks.

Reducing your intake of sugar can do great wonders in your sleep, as it does to your overall health.

Opt for fresh fruit juices that are naturally sweet and avoid calorie-dense fizzy drinks. Instead of using table sugar, sweeten your food using honey.

And as much as possible, stop your sugar intake by 5pm, to allow your body to metabolise all the carbohydrates you took the whole day.

Make a journal.

Before going to bed, list down the things you have accomplished for the day.

Then come up with another list of the things you need to do the next day.

Writing it all down will keep you from worrying and remembering things, and allow your mind to completely focus on the present moment and drift off to the la-la land.

Lift weights in the evening.

Lifting weights in the evening can also help you sleep faster and deeper.

After dinner, do some weight training. If you do not have weights at home, try crossfit-style exercises.

Firing up your muscles helps a lot in metabolising sugar which affects sleep. As a result, you nod off easily.

You also get to burn more calories even whilst you sleep!

Turn off electronics in your bed or your room.

Browsing your Facebook newsfeed before going to sleep sounds like a cool idea. But no, it isn’t.

Such electronics, including television and computers, emit blue light that could really mess up with your sleep patterns.

In a 2014 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found that participants using iPads displayed reduced levels of melatonin, a hormone that typically increases in the evening and helps induce sleepiness.

Quit the ‘snooze’ button.

Think snoozing your alarm clock for five times helps a lot? Think again!

While it seems like a great idea to wake up on time, many sleep experts agree that hitting the snooze button contributes to a tired morning and doesn’t help us feel more rested.

Those five extra minutes in the morning are less restful than five minutes of REM sleep because they take place at the end of the cycle when sleep is lighter.

Of course,  and I would suggest this, perhaps try a bit of hypnotic relaxation before bedtime.

It’ll help quiet your conscious mind and allow your subconscious to start working its magic even before you sleep.

As always,  I’d love to hear your feedback.

Richard Scott
Clinical hypnotherapist

Try out these tips and you will surely love the result!

Can’t sleep? Read this…

More and more studies are pointing out the importance of sleep and the harmful effects when we don’t get enough of it. Sleep insufficiency is widely linked to chronic health issues like heart disease, stroke and obesity, as well as vehicular accidents. Sleep problems are also a major cause of productivity loss among employees.

Sleep is essential to your health as food, air and water. Cell repair and healing takes place during sleep, that’s why we feel more energetic and refreshed as we wake up each morning. But this is not the case for many people, particularly those who have insomnia.

Insomnia is one of the most common sleep problems. According to the NHS, about a third of people in the UK have episodes of insomnia. This sleeping disorder tends to be more common in women and more likely to occur with age. Untreated insomnia can cause serious problems to a person and may significantly affect his or her quality of life.

Below are some surprising facts about insomnia that you need to know, especially if you think you have it.

Insomnia and depression are linked.

It’s often hard to tell which one comes first. That’s because insomnia can lead to depression and depression can cause insomnia. In a 2014 study published in the journal Sleep Medicine, insomnia was linked to depression, generalised anxiety disorder, and panic disorder in teenagers. The study authors note that “having insomnia in addition to anxiety or depression can further intensify the problems being experienced with each individual disorder.” Meanwhile, a 2013 Canadian study found that treating the two conditions simultaneously can improve symptoms of both.

Some people are predisposed to insomnia.

Bad news: sleep problems could also run in families. In a 2007 study published in the journal Sleep, researchers found that about 35% of those with insomnia had a family history of the said sleep disorder. Another study, which involved nearly 800 teens, found that those whose parents have insomnia have an increased risk for using prescribed sleeping pills, and having mental problems.

Sleeping pills won’t help you in the long term.

If you want to get rid of insomnia for good, medication isn’t the answer. Whilst sleeping pills can make you fall asleep easier, their effects can wear off if they’re used long-term. What’s better than popping pills is establishing healthy sleep habits. Keep your bedroom dark and cool, go to bed at the same time each night, don’t take too much caffeine, and don’t oversleep on weekends. Proper diet and regular exercise are also crucial. It’s also recommended that you see a GP regularly for check-up because some health conditions can cause sleep difficulties.

A ‘sleep ‘diary may help.

GPs recommend keeping a sleep diary so you gain a better understanding of your sleep patterns. This in turn helps you decide which method of treatment to use. The NHS recommend keeping track of the following: the time you go bed; how long it takes you to get to sleep; the number of times you wake up in the night; what time it is when you wake up episodes of daytime tiredness and naps; what time you eat meals, consume alcohol, take exercise and when you are stressed.

Women are more likely to have it.

Women are two times more likely to have insomnia than men, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Experts speculate that the reason may have to do with women’s hormones. Sleepless nights and daytime sleepiness have been linked with hormonal changes in a women’s life, including pregnancy, menopause, and the menstrual cycle. For instance, for women experiencing menopause, when hormone levels are erratic, sleep problems are a common complaint.

Chronic insomnia ups risk for alcohol abuse.

In 2012, researchers from Trinity College Dublin, in Ireland, found that people who drink alcohol to help them get to sleep could wind up developing a drinking problem. An earlier study, published in 2001 in the American Journal of Psychiatry, showed that participants with insomnia were about twice as likely to report using alcohol, compared with those without insomnia. Attempting to self-medicate insomnia with alcohol, however, will ultimately worsen insomnia, the study authors said.

Natural remedies are available.

Researchers from Louisiana State University found that drinking tart cherry juice before bed improved insomnia symptoms in older adults, and previous research has suggested that herbal remedies, like chamomile tea, may help as well. Psychotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy, and in my own professional experience hypnotherapy has also been extremely effective.

Richard Scott
Clinical Hypnotherapist