There are all sorts of challenges people have in their relationship with sleep. Some choose to "burn the candle" at both ends because they have things to do that keep them awake and engaged. Others want to go to sleep, but either struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep all night. Many spend hours awake in the night while the rest of their family and friends sleep. Whatever the reason, you will not need to hear me tell you how important sleep is for our mental and emotional well being.
Working with people who have sleep challenges can be tremendously satisfying if they are motivated to work on some of the issues that are creating this difficulty. Focusing on making some small but consistent changes can change your relationship to sleep in a relatively short period of time.
Below you will find some basic changes to make to create the sleep life you want.
Honor your circadian rhythm which is your natural 24-hour sleep cycle. Most people will start to feel tired well before they decide to go to sleep. But that tired feeling is an indicator that our melatonin has released and it's time to go to sleep. When we ignore this cue, we often find ourselves in the middle of a second wind meaning we may not be tired again for many hours after this.
Bedtime Routine. Many parents use this for children to help them settle in for the night and fall asleep. easily. Why we don't use this as adults is perplexing. Some basic parts of a routine include: a. Turn off ALL electronics at least one hour before bed. b. Take a warm bath (not hot) using some epson salts or nice lavender essential oil to calm your nervous system. c. Listen to a simple soothing podcast. d. Use one of the many apps on your phone to listen to soothing stories. d. Yoga Nidra can be found on YouTube and can really help relax the body.
Find a Supplement or Homeopathic Remedy to lean into when you are working to get back into a good sleep routine. A natural food store has some great options.
Dark Room. Often light coming in from outside can be enough to disrupt your sleep cycle. Covering any open spaces with sheets or blankets can make a difference.
Use earplugs or a white noise machine if there is noise in your bedroom. There are free apps on your phone that can produce soothing sounds that may help you drift into sleep.
Make a list. Make a list of worries and thoughts that might be wanting to be processed. Sometimes we are so busy during the day that we are unable to process what has happened or things that might be bothering us. Many of us don't give ourselves time to properly process life. Then when life gets quiet at night, often these issue rise to the surface to get our undivided attention. If we engage in a routine to process this before bed, we can often fall asleep easily knowing all has been attended to.
Try turning off the WiFi router. Many people have found they are sensitive to the output of these routers and begin to sleep more soundly when they are disconnected at night.
Meditation. This is the super challenge suggestion to really help you let go of your thoughts and move into a deep sense of calm. There are many ways to learn simple meditation, but this skill takes time, patience and practice.
Ideally, implementing only 1-2 of these ideas at a time for at least 4-6 days to see the impact each one is making is ideal. Sleep is a sacred time and engaging with the closing down of the day in a respectful and
proactive manner can often help us regain a soothing relationship with sleep.