Studies have shown that lack of sleep can be one of the main contributors to anxiety problems. When we are tired our brains are unable to function correctly, our attention span drops, as does our concentration. Reasoning becomes more difficult and our memory suffers. Sleep deprivation will also lead to lack of energy and eventually have a negative effect on health.
So what can be done?
How can you switch your mind off from racing around?
How can you improve your sleeping habits?
1. ROUTINE: It is important to stick to a regular routine. This means going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every morning. Weekends Included. A ritual of whatever relaxes you is great, (soothing music, warm milky drink, light reading and relaxation exercise).
2. TEMPERATURE: The bedroom should be kept at a comfortable temperature, it is important also to ‘air’ the room, open the window when you first get up, even if it is just for ten minutes.
3. EXERCISE: Studies have shown that regular exercise induces peaceful sleep. Anything is better than nothing. Never exercise in the evening.
4. COMFORT: Turn Mattresses and pillows regularly and do not wear uncomfortable nightwear.
5. LIGHT: Increase light exposure during the daytime hours. If you cannot get outside, then sit by a window. Open curtains or blinds as soon as you get up. Keep the bedroom as dim as possible.
6. THOUGHT: Bedtime is switch off time. Keep a pen and paper next to you bed, if any worries or troubles enter your thoughts as you are preparing for sleep, note them down and tell yourself ‘there is a time and place for everything’ You will attend to these things in the morning with a fresh mind. Fill your brain with positive thoughts when getting into bed, (sunny places, happy memories, positive goals).
7. DIET: Reduce your intake of caffeine and alcohol, especially during the evening. Avoid large meals in the evening.
8. NOISE: Use ‘white noise’ to block out any interfering sounds. (Radio out of frequency, Fan, cd/app of waterfall/rain/wind)
9. RELAXATION: Learn to set aside a period during the day to meditate or relax. This could include breathing exercises, meditation and yoga and muscle relaxation.
10. DON’T WORRY: Not sleeping is annoying but it isn’t life threatening. Worrying about it will achieve nothing. Follow these steps and things should improve.