There is no denying that the last few years have brought stresses and stains in our lives that we never thought possible. Firstly, a pandemic, bringing with it social distancing, wearing a face mask
, queuing outside of shops, empty supermarket shelves, no toilet rolls etc. Now we are being hit with the rising cost of living, food, gas, electricity, petrol, diesel. Add to this the images and reports that we are seeing and hearing on a regular basis about the war in Ukraine. We are creatures of habit, and we like certainty in our lives. Is it any wonder that reports of stress and anxiety have increased over recent years? With increased stress and anxiety comes other issues and problems.
One of the biggest reported impacts from all of this is problems with sleep. Sleep becomes more elusive when we are anxious and stressed.
Many people are suffering sleep issues for the first time in their lives:
• awake for long periods
• unable to fall asleep at all
• wake up several times during the night
• more intense and emotional dreams
• tired and groggy the next morning
• find it difficult to concentrate or function properly
• feel irritable
Good sleep hygiene and stratagems will help you sleep well and can limit the negative effects of poor sleep.
Try these EIGHT hints for calmer and better sleep.
1) Limit news intake. Things in the world won’t change just because you haven’t seen every news update in the day. Avoid your mobiles and tablets for at least an hour before bed.
2) Do something to boost your mood before bed - a humorous television programme or an uplifting podcast can help you sleep.
3) Have structure to your day. Our brains and bodies love structure. Wake, exercise, eat and sleep at similar times each day.
4) Focus on your breathing. Think about resting rath
er than sleeping. Follow your breathing by silently whispering the words ‘in’ and ‘out’ to induce sleep.
5) Learn to relax. Relaxation can switch off the stress response, physically and mentally. Find something that works for you - mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, or a long hot bath.
6) If you can’t sleep - get out of bed. Avoid your phone, tablet or laptop and don’t watch TV. Reading a few pages of a book can be relaxing.
7) Your bed should not be a battleground. Instead, try to enjoy the sensation of merely resting.
8) Establish a ‘worry window’ to help with stress and anxiety. This a specific time in the day when you allow yourself to worry for an hour. The rest of the time you push the worry to the back of your mind to deal with during your worry hour. People often find that some worries have disappeared when it gets to worry hour.
9) Focus on eating healthily and drinking plenty of water. This helps your mental and physical well-being. It is easy to neglect ourselves when we are overwhelmed and tired.
Hypnosis can help many forms of sleep issues and insomnia. If you are not sleeping well, and traditional treatments are not working, hypnosis may be able to help you sleep the way you deserve.
It uses different approaches to induce relaxation, such as focused attention, symptom control and guided imagery. Unlike sleep medications, it has no side effects, so it can be an aid for those who can’t or don’t want to take sleeping pills.
Hypnosis can help overcome bedtime restlessness - ease the worry, tension and anxiety that prevent sleep - and can show the way to the deep, restorative sleep that we all need.