Natural Sleepiness Cycle – Falling asleep is a bit like surfing; you have to learn to catch the wave of sleepiness. The natural sleepiness cycle or ‘ultradian rhythm’ comes in waves every 60 – 90 minutes. If you don’t catch the wave when it comes, then you have to wait for the next one. So if you feel sleepy and it’s bedtime, drop everything and go straight to bed. You don’t have to do this for the rest of your life, just for four to six weeks until your body has re-learnt healthy sleep patterns.
Thinking and worrying in bed: how to reduce it – Try listing all your concerns and worries on a sheet of paper. Where appropriate, write out some simple strategies for dealing with these. Then, when you go to bed, repeat in your mind “I’ve done my worrying, now it’s time to sleep”. You can create your own mantra to suit.
Learning not to worry if you are ‘not sleeping’ – Try using the above mantra. Ask yourself what’s the worst that could happen – you will just get some rest that will be ‘almost’ as restorative as sleep.
Sleep scheduling rules – You don’t necessarily have to go to bed at the same time every night. Getting up at the same time every morning however, is important. This will induce sleepiness at the same time every night. To ensure maximum effect, don’t nap during the day and go to bed only when sleepy.
Stimulus control rules – Before you go to bed, try avoiding stimulants such as TV, coffee, alcohol, tobacco, thriller novels, etc. Dedicate your bed to sleep and sex only. If you like to read in bed do this for no more than half an hour. Otherwise do your reading out of bed.
Relaxation: how to do it in one minute– Close your eyes, take a deep breath and hold it for as long as you can. As you exhale, start to relax your jaw, then your shoulders and then your hands. Repeat the process. Rate your stress levels on a score between 1 and 10 before and after this process.
Sleep diary – Make notes about your sleep. What are you thinking about when you wake? What are you feeling and dreaming? This is a very individual exercise where you are trying to identify possible causes for your poor sleep.
Information about sleep and sleeping environment – Make your bedroom as conducive to sleep as possible. Eliminate any intermittent noises. Darken the room as much as you can. Try a drop of lavender oil on your pillow.
Sleep hygiene – This means avoiding anything that might cause you to stay awake before you need to go to bed. Stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, as well as exercise and TV can all fall in to this category.
Stressful lifestyle – While many of life’s circumstances are unavoidable, we can make choices about how we might respond. Do your worrying out of bed. Try to come up with realistic strategies to pressures you may be experiencing. Try incorporating some of the solutions listed above.
Tory’s Sleep Tip – make sure you maintain a healthy lifestyle including adequate exercise, healthy food and the consumption of lots of water. Enrol in our Bootcamps to ensure you are well and ‘trewly’ tired and ready for bed in the evenings. This will also assist you in looking and feeling fantastic!