5 Ways To Beat Insomnia
A study came out from Kings College London that yesterday revealed that more than half of the UK population have struggled with sleep during lock-down.
If you think about it, it’s not surprising really as our routines our out of sync and our stress levels are often rising for reasons like worries over job security, pressures of home schooling or fear of the pandemic itself, and it’s been proven that stress affects our sleep in a whole host of ways.
As adults, we need to get between 7 and 8 hours sleep per night, so here are 5 things that you can do to help beat insomnia:
Watch me explain in the video, or read more below.
This is perhaps one of the most important things for you to do. It can be very tempting to lay in if you are furloughed or getting to work from home, but actually according to Professor Kevin Morgan, a sleep expert at the University of Loughborough, “Routine is the guardian of good sleep. It protects our sleep” and we should "Get up at your normal time and go to bed at the normal time, however tempting it might be to do otherwise."
Many of the people that I see in my clinic find that their mind goes into overdrive at the precise moment that their head hits the pillow. Give your brain the opportunity to drift and switch off before going to bed (and that doesn’t mean scrolling on your phone – I’ll get to that one in a moment) because if you don’t, and you stay constantly on the go, the only time that it has to do it, is when you finally stop at the end of the day, which is when you want to go to sleep.
Not only is exercise like a wonder drug for your mental health, releasing lots of positive chemicals like endorphins and dopamine, it’s been shown to improve your sleep, particularly when done in the daytime. This is because it raises your body temperature by a few degrees, and when it drops back to normal later that evening, it evokes a feeling of drowsiness. If you exercise outdoors, you get twice the benefits as the sunlight helps your body to produce the sleep endorsing hormone, Melatonin.
Where I just mentioned that natural light helps to produce sleep promoting Melatonin, unfortunately the light emitted from screens, has the opposite effect. It’s best to avoid screens for at least an hour before going to bed, and if you must look at a screen, turn the brightness down or activate the night mode on your device if it has that feature.
It’s true that alcohol can help us get to sleep, however, and it’s a big HOWEVER, it really affects the quality of our sleep. Have you ever noticed how many times you wake up during the night after a few drinks? This is because, although drinking increases our sleep inducing chemical called Adenosine, it also quickly falls away which causes us to wake earlier, not to mention the extra toilet trips that might be needed during the night.
It also blocks REM sleep, which is the part of the sleep cycle where we process our baggage from the day, so that we can leave it behind us and awaken feeling ready to take on the day without feeling stressed or anxious, so you can see why that would be unhelpful in this situation.
Many people that I help say that when they start listing to my recording in bed at night, they fall asleep in just a few minutes. It allows them to focus their minds on something positive and soothes them so that they feel relaxed and can drift off quickly and easily. If you would like a free copy of my recording, email me firstname.lastname@example.org