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.

Negative thoughts – negative sleep

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Bedtime is supposed to be the time to give yourself a break from all the stresses of the day.

It is the time to finally let your body rest without hesitation, let it recover, and refuel the lost energy.

But for most of us, it is also the time to ruminate about negative experiences, especially those that happened within the day.

The time to think about the things we said and did.

Did they make sense?

Was I able to raise my point?

Did I look stupid in front of those people? 

Some of us even lose hours going over negative thoughts, thinking about all thewhat-ifs and only-ifs, including those events that happened many, many years ago.

Negative thinking, especially during bedtime, is one of the major factors affecting a person’s risk of insomnia and even mood disorders like depression.

Not only does it make falling asleep difficult, but getting preoccupied with negative thoughts does affect the quality of our sleep, so we wake up feeling restless the next day, as if we didn’t get enough sleep.

If you’re always struggling about negative thoughts before bedtime – and no matter how you try to push them away, they keep bugging you, you can greatly benefit from the following tips and advices.

Go to bed earlier.

Do you notice it that when you stay awake past your usual bedtime schedule, you become grumpy and irritable?

In a study by Binghamton University, it was found that people who preferred to go to sleep late (evening types) had higher levels of negative thoughts compared to early sleepers (morning types).

The same was true for people who slept for shorter periods of time overall.

If you’re used to sleeping late, like 11 pm onwards, try adjusting your bedtime schedule by 15 to 30-minute increments until your desired schedule that allows you to get enough slumber of at least 7-8 hours.

Practice breathing techniques.

Deep breathing is a scientifically proven way to ward off stress and shut negative thoughts.

It allows you to focus on your body, rather than on the worries and all the bad thoughts.

Also, deep breathing induces the flow of blood throughout your body, which leads to calmness and relaxation.

Turn on the music.

Remember how lullabies make you sleep faster when you were little?

Music has the ability to relax our mind and body, and shift our attention from negative thoughts and emotions.

And its sleep-promoting abilities are backed by scientific research too.

In 2013, a study review by University of Chinese People’s Armed Police Forces in China, found that music therapy helped people with sleep disorders when used consistently.

But of course, the type of music you play has a huge impact.

Try a calming music with no lyrics, such as new age instrumentals, nature-inspired music or classical music.

Nonetheless, it is still important to experiment and find out what specific types of music works best for you.

Try Guided Relaxation or Visualisation

There are different types of guided relaxation, and they often work best with the help of a trained therapist.

There’s progressive relaxation which involves tensing and relaxing different groups of muscle in sequence.

There’s also the traditional guided relaxation which involves focusing on your breathing and relaxing your whole body.

You can use visualisation too, wherein you think about a relaxing place or situation.

Ask your therapist what specific techniques you can try at home to alleviate negative thoughts and ruminations especially before bedtime.

Ditch the Facebook night-time habit.

If you make Facebook a bedtime ritual, chances are, you can get into bad mood once you saw a post that you don’t want to see.

Looking at other people’s photos and statuses about how happy they are, what places they’ve been, how great their salaries are, etc., often fuels comparison, which greatly boosts negative thinking.

Another thing, using your mobile phone or computer, even watching TV before bedtime has been found to affect sleep quality by interfering with the body’s circadian rhythm.

And that’s due to the blue light these electronics emit.

If you have a helpful negative-thinking tip or strategy that works for you? Please share in the comment section below.

Happy dreaming

Richard Scott
Clinical hypnotherapist

How to sleep better

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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!