Getting good sleep is such an important part of our physical and psychological wellbeing.
However in a busy world, full of constant stimulation from electronic devices, it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain helpful sleep hygiene strategies.
Sleep is important as it is involved in the repair of muscles and tissues, as well as restoring energy and the release of hormones needed for growth and development.
If you have been having trouble sleeping, no doubt some of these will sound familiar:
- Tossing and turning during the night;
- Waking at night and having trouble getting back to sleep;
- Fatigue and loss of energy;
- Difficulties concentrating;
- Difficulty functioning with day-day tasks.
What to Do if you are Having Trouble Sleeping
There are many things you can do if you have been having trouble sleeping. Some useful strategies include:
- Don’t take electronics into the bedroom where you sleep. Electronics are very stimulating for the mind, and interfere with the body’s routine and preparation for going to sleep (ie they keep us awake rather than helping our body feel sleepy).
- Make sure your room is cool, as hot temperatures can interfere with sleep and research suggests it can contribute to nightmares.
- If you find yourself awake at night try to do something not too stimulating like reading a paper book, or listening to calming music or nature sounds.
- If you have trouble falling asleep, try the calming music as this can help break the frustration of a noisy mind. “White noise” (as it is often referred to) can be a helpful tool while falling to sleep. These days there are plenty of useful apps that can help with this.
- Mindfulness can also be a helpful way to quiet your mind and prepare your body for sleep (please see my page on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy which includes an explanation of Mindfulness).
- Avoid watching the clock if you wake at night, as this will often add to your frustration.
- Research suggests that avoiding alcohol and caffeine 4-6 hours before sleeping is helpful, as both can interfere with the body’s sleep cycle.
- If you exercise, consider whether doing a workout close to bed time is interfering with your sleep.
If sleep issues persist, you may find it helpful to talk with a Psychologist as there may be an underlying issue that needs to be addressed, for example, depression, anxiety, stress etc.
Leia is an endorsed Clinical Psychologist, with training and experience in a variety of evidence based treatment approaches. She is particularly passionate about the benefits of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. At M1 Psychology, Leia’s primary focus is clinical child and adolescent psychology, although she is happy to treat individuals and couples of all ages.
To make an appointment with Clinical Psychologist Leia Redman try Online Booking – Loganholme or call M1 Psychology (Loganholme) on (07) 3067 9129.
- Treatment Protocol Project (2004). Management of Mental Disorders (4th Edition). Sydney. World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Evidence in Mental Health Policy.