If you are having difficulty sleeping, make sure you avoid stimulants such as alcohol, coffee, heavy meals and exercise immediately before you go to bed. Exercise can be an excellent way of improving your sleep patterns, but not immediately before you try to sleep, as it releases stimulating chemicals into the brain.
Sleep problems can be caused by worrying - either we can't get to sleep because we are chewing something over, or an anxious niggle wakes us up during the night. Worrying like this can prevent us from relaxing and enjoying a sound night's sleep. There are a number of ways you can relax and distract yourself from the day's worries before sleeping; listen to some gentle, relaxing music, read a book, have a hot, milky drink or a warm bath, and try some deep breathing exercises. Try a few different things out and see what works best for you.
If you are tossing and turning, unable to get to sleep, you might find it helpful to get up and do something rather than lie awake in the dark trying to force yourself to sleep. This rarely works as you become self-conscious and stressed about not sleeping, which is counter-productive. Go back to bed only when you are feeling really sleepy.
We all need different amounts of sleep, and depending on our individual body clocks, have preferences for when we go to sleep and wake up. We function better at different times of the day - some of us are morning people and others 'night owls'. Listen to what your body tells you, and then try to stick to a regular sleeping routine of going to bed and getting up at roughly the same times.
As far as possible, remove any external distractions which might be interfering with you sleeping. These could include pets, too much light coming into the room, or the presence of TVs, videos etc in your bedroom. Make sure that your mattress is comfortable and giving you enough support, that you are cool or warm enough, and that overall your bedroom is an uncluttered, relaxing sanctuary and conducive to sleep.
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