Some of my earliest memories are of climbing out of my cot each night and into my parents bed. I was terrified of the dark, had frequent nightmares and woke with the sparrows. As I grew older I would go to bed late, sleep with a light on and use the radio or TV to lull me into a wrestles night sleep. Eventually I succumbed to taking medication which left me feeling groggy and unmotivated. This went on for DECADES till in my late 30’s I finally improved my relationship with sleep and now look forward to my head hitting the pillow. Now as a Mind+Body Coach and Hypnotherapist I’m helping others to get the ZZZ’s they need…
Our circadian rhythms govern the see saw between wakefulness as the run rises, where our conscious awareness is stimulated by a rise in cortisol levels. Throughout the day we burn energy which leads us into a ‘sleep pressure’ and as the sun sets our melatonin levels rise which helps us to feel more calm and relaxed and ready for bed.
To function at our best, we require approx. 7-9 hours of sleep within a 24 hour period. A good night sleep not only helps us to repair and rejuvenate, it also supports healthy immune function, emotional and behavioural regulation, stress management, memory, problem solving, motivation, focus and so much more. Sadly, according to a 2020 Royal Philips survey, 40% of Australians aren’t achieving an adequate sleep quota.
A lack of sleep affects us both physically and emotionally and also increases risk of health conditions like obesity, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression and heart disease. For some a bout of insomnia can lead to other psychological sleep disorders like Somniphobia (a fear or dread of sleep).
When I’m working with sleep clients we take a deep dive to uncover a wide variety of contributing lifestyle, health, dietary, emotional, physical and habitual factors that may be at play and create a personalised plan and strategy to work toward long term improved sleep. This generally happens over the course of 1 to 6 sessions (depending on the individual, factors & length of insomnia).
Here are my 10 go-to sleep tips to consider when experiencing insomnia:
1. Identify stress factors and ways of overcoming or managing them (financial, work, relationships with others and self, health, environmental etc.)
2. Visit your GP and rule out any deficiencies or hormonal imbalances and whilst you’re there check that any regular medications you are on could be at fault
3. Create regular routines to enjoy relaxing activities like meditation, reading, gardening, craft, yoga etc.
4. Look at your diet and hydration to ensure you are getting what you need and at the right time of day
5. Consider if you are getting enough physical activity throughout the day to encourage ‘sleep pressure’
6. Ensure you’re getting 15 minutes of sunshine exposure each day to meet your Vitamin D requirements
7. Reduce bright lights, technology, EMF’s and neo-cortex stimulation of an evening before bed
8. Establish a healthy and consistent bedtime routine
9. Create an inviting and conducive bedroom environment
10. Become aware of your sleep mindset and self-talk and how that might be hindering your ability to drift off to sleep or get back to sleep after a wake up
Whilst sleep issues can leave you feeling helpless and frustrated, there is help available to you, don’t let insomnia drag on, the sooner you get support the better. If you’d like to find out if Hypnotherapy and Mind+Body Coaching can help you, head to our website and book in a complimentary discovery call with me (Kate Walton) or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s to a good night sleep!