Dear mind, please stop thinking so much, I need to sleep.

“HOW BLESSED ARE SOME PEOPLE, WHOSE LIVES HAVE NO FEARS, TO WHOM SLEEP IS A BLESSING THAT COMES NIGHTLY AND BRINGS NOTHING BUT SWEET DREAMS”

I came across this quote yesterday from Bram Stoker’s Dracula and it immediately resonated with me.  How envious I am of those who can get a good nights sleep!

I’ve struggled with sleep on and off the last four or five years, and for me, difficultly sleeping is often a sign that I’m becoming unwell and need to make some changes to release pressure.

I’m hoping this current bout of sleeplessness is the more effect of reducing one medication and starting a new one so I’m trying not to worry about what it means, and hoping it will settle in the next week or two.

A few months ago I read ‘Tired but Wired‘ by Sleep and Energy Expert, Dr Nerina Ramlakhan. After following her advice for a couple of weeks I started sleeping solidly for eight hours, so it feels like a good time to remind myself of some of the things that helped me get a better nights sleep in the past:

  1. Eat breakfast within 30 to 45 minutes of rising
    I found that my body got into the habit of expecting food, making it easier to get up and out of bed!
  2. Switch off all technology an hour before going to bed
    This was the biggest change I made and involved buying an alarm clock for my bedroom and leaving my phone in another room overnight. My new wind-down routine involves putting my phone down by 9.30pm, taking a shower or bath, drinking a cup of warm milk and getting into bed around 10pm. That gives me an hour to read or journal before going to sleep by 11pm.
  3. Go to sleep feeling grateful
    I keep a notebook by my bed and write down a few things each day that I am grateful for. There is so much to say about this practice that I will save it for another post!
  4. Never check the time if you wake up in the night
    Whilst it’s temping, I just end up worrying about how many hours sleep I haven’t had and how long it is until I need to get up.
  5. Avoid putting on the lights if you wake up in the night
    So now I stumble to the bathroom at the other end of my flat in the dark, trying to avoid treading on my dog!
  6. Make time for creativity during the day
    Writing, drawing, colouring in, scribbling with crayons, making a collage – anything that channels my creative energy. I find doing one of these things a even couple of times a week is enough and I feel more restless when I don’t.

These are just some of things that worked for me and they might be different for you.If you want to learn more, take a look at Dr Nerina’s blog on The Huffington Post.