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Woman Sleeping


Do you struggle to drift off, find yourself waking up repeatedly, or notice yourself over-thinking at 3am?

Quality sleep is essential for our wellbeing, impacting physical health, mental focus, and emotional wellbeing. But if a good night's sleep feels impossible, then read on as here are my tried-and-tested tips designed to unlock sweet dreams and help you wake up feeling rested and refreshed.


1) Establish a consistent sleep schedule

Our bodies thrive on routine; we find it easier to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day. Aim for sensible bedtime and wake-up times that you can stick to, even at weekends. This helps regulate your body's internal clock, making it easier to fall asleep and wake naturally.

2) Create a relaxing bedtime routine

A bedtime routine signals to your body that it's time to wind down. This should last 30-60 minutes and can include activities such as cleaning your teeth, putting on pyjamas, reading a book, taking a bath or practising relaxation techniques. Make sure to avoid watching TV or using your phone during this time, as screens emit a blue light which interferes with the production of melatonin, your body's natural sleep hormone.

3) Optimise your bedroom environment

Where possible, your bedroom should only be used for sleeping (and sex), so avoid doing any other activities in this room. You can optimise your bedroom for sleep by ensuring it's dark, quiet and a comfortable temperature. Make sure you have a good-quality mattress and pillow(s), and consider using white/rain noise, lavender fragrance or blackout curtains to create an even more restful environment.

4) Use anxiety-management techniques

Unresolved stress and anxiety can wreak havoc on your sleep. Practice stress-reducing techniques such as meditation, body scans, worry time or journaling, or try using a mindfulness app such as Headspace or Calm. If you're struggling with ongoing anxiety or stress that's affecting your sleep, it may also be worth seeking psychotherapy.

5) Manage nighttime wake-ups

There are two schools of thought when it comes to thinking about how to respond nighttime wake-ups. You may find that you need to use different techniques at different times.

  • Stay in bed: Lay in bed, close your eyes and focus on your body relaxing and 'melting' into the bed; you may want to listen to a guided relaxation or sleep story to help with this. Try not to focus on needing to fall back to sleep as this will lead to increased tension and stress, thus actually inhibiting sleep. This method should help you let go and fall asleep, but even if you stay awake, it will ensure your body is still benefitting from physical relaxation.

  • Get up and do something else: Get out of bed and get on with a task – preferably a mundane/boring one – until you feel sleepy again. This method means that you keep your bedroom for sleep only (so that you don't associate it with lying awake) and enables you to tire out your body so you can fall asleep again more easily when you return to bed.

6) Notice your daytime habits

Finally, be aware of other (daytime) factors which may affect your sleep – drinking caffeine, eating heavily and exercising in the evening are all associated with poorer sleep. Experiment with working-out earlier in the day or drinking one less cup of coffee, and see if your slumber improves.

For further support with sleep, especially if you're experiencing anxiety or stress, book a free psychotherapy consultation.

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