I work with a lot of groups in companies all around Dublin and Leinster, regularly talking about stress and how to manage it. In my experience, about 99% of people I come across have their sleep affected by stress. Some find it takes ages to get to sleep; others fall asleep fast but keep waking during the night. And some suffer from insomnia on a chronic basis. Whatever your situation, following the advice below will help you to get to sleep quickly and send you off to the land of nod for a refreshing night’s sleep…

 

  • Use a Relaxation Technique: There are many ways to relax, but listening to a Guided Progressive Muscle Relaxation is a clinically proven way to aid sleep. Practice every night before you go to sleep and you’ll get better over time at relaxing to a deeper state, faster. Don’t expect much the first few times! After regular practice though, you’ll find you drift off into a relaxed, refreshing sleep and wake up feeling good in the morning.
  • Don’t take any stimulants for several hours before bed: If you have problems sleeping at night, one of the first things to do is cut out coffee, sugary foods and alcohol for several hours before sleep.
  • Exercise regularly: Exercise is a great way to aid sleep. Doing your cardio workout in the morning aids better sleep in the evening.
  • Get up at the same time every morning: if you regularly have problems sleeping, in order to help your brain sleep on time and wake up on time, you need to get up at the same time every morning. So set your alarm and get up regardless of how much you’ve slept. Do not use Snooze. This will help your body acquire a consistent sleep rhythm.
  • Empty your mind before you lie down to sleep: Write down all those phonecalls and emails you forgot about, all the stuff going around in your mind – empty it out onto a page or a diary so that you don’t have to keep looping it in your mind all night. If there are a lot of emotions coming up for you, write a journal to express your feelings and release them then.
  • Lie down to go to sleep only when you are sleepy: you don’t want to spend time awake in bed, it only confuses the mind. You want your mind to associate bed with sleep.
  • Do not use your bed for anything except sleep: that means no TV/phone/iPad, no reading, no studying, no eating; nothing except sleep (and sex. After sexual activity, the same rules apply).  The goal is to associate your bed with falling asleep and not with any other distraction.
  • If you cannot fall asleep: get up and go into another room. Do something boring, like a household chore, or read a book standing up, so that it’s non-rewarding. When you feel sleepy again, go back to bed.
  • If you still cannot fall asleep: Don’t stay in bed any longer than 15-20 minutes, you want to associate bed with falling asleep quickly. Get back up and repeat the previous step as often as is necessary through the night.
  • Do not nap during the day.