Sleep tight – tips for a peaceful night

Insomnia is a common problem, with an estimated 1 in 3 people finding getting a good night’s sleep a challenge. Lack of sleep can leave us feeling tired, irritable, over emotional and lacking in focus, which can make us more accident prone. Not only that lack of sleep has been linked to various long term illnesses, and even weight problems.

So what can we do to help oursleves? I’m going to focus my next couple of blogs on heping you get a good night’s rest and giving you some tips on how you can cope with those times when sleep just escapes you.

I thought I’d start with some of the basics of sleep hygiene:

  • Reduce your caffeine in take and try not to drink caffeine after 4pm. There are many herbal teas out there to encourage a restful night, why not try one?
  • Other eating habits that can disturb sleep include – eating too much sugar; eating a heavy meal before bed; too much alcohol (alcohol may initially make you drowsy but the effort your liver has to put in to clean out the toxins will wake you up later); some food additives, monosodium glutamate is particularly notorious for giving sleepless nights.
  • Try to make the room you sleep in cool, clear of clutter and if possible no TV, PC’s etc. Make your bedroom a haven for sleep and pleasurable activities – strictly no work!
  • Don’t watch TV last thing at night. The rapid flicking images on the screen, as picked up by the retina, activate our sympathetic nervous system (ie. our stress response) and as the body then thinks there could be danger it puts us on high alert. To activate the relaxation response, turn off the TV and read a book, or listen to music or even better do some restorative yoga or a relaxation.
  • Making sure you get enough exercise throughout the day, to burn off the stress hormones and to tire the physical body, is a good idea, particularly if you have a stressful desk based job, but try not to exercise in the couple of hours leading up to bedtime as the endorphins produced during exercise will leave you energised rather than sleepy.
  • Have a warm bath. This raises the body’s temperature, which makes us feel naturally more drowsy.
  • If it’s a busy mind that keeps you awake, try jotting down your ideas, thoughts, worries, to do list, before you go to bed, consciously telling yourself that you’ve written these things down so you don’t need to give them any more energy or thought until the morning.

I hope these suggestions help you, I know they’ve worked for me. Next time I’m going to be looking at more yogic ways of getting those elusive 8 hours, so until then take care and happy zzzzzzzzz-ing, Ix

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5 Comments


  1. Kay Holdsworth, 5 years ago

    Drinking coffee too late at night is something I know I shouldn’t do. I can definitely tell the caffeine is doing it stuff as its the only time I ever have problems getting to sleep. I recently experienced Dru Yoga and loved it! I was going on Sundays but found that Sunday nights don’t work for me.
    http://www.kayholdsworth.com


    • Isabel, 5 years ago

      Glad you enjoyed Dru, if Sundays don’t work for you take a look on my “Find a class” page if you are in the Cleckheaton / Birstall / Tong area or to find a more suitable class nearer to you go on the Dru Uk website (link from my pages) and you can search for a teacher in your area. Ix


  2. Helen Collier, 5 years ago

    It was interesting reading you post. I used to sleep very badly waking up with all sorts of things racing through my head. When I got made (happily) redundant about a year ago I found I started waking up searching for things to worry about and the usual familiar things weren’t there – I think I had got into a habit. I do wake up now and I simply think ‘I’m awake’ rather than ‘I wish I could get to sleep, why can’t I sleep etc etc I tend to go down stairs watch a bit of TV until I feel drowsy then back up to bed and off to sleep. I still wake in the morning and feel as though I’ve had a good nights sleep. I simply stopped thinking about it!


  3. Janet Bebb, 5 years ago

    I used to have countless sleepless nights and wake up in a panic about things. Now most nights I sleep soundly. I have no idea what changed this and the stress I have in my life currently far outweighs the stress I had when I wasn’t sleeping – I do question why that is but haven’t come up with an answer YET!

    Also, my daughter came up with a very good strategy for me when I wasn’t sleeping. She taught me to think of a subject area (eg girls names, flowers, band names) and starting with ‘A’ think of one item beginning with that letter and move through the alphabet – I guarantee you’ll be asleep in no time – why? Because you’re no longer thinking about what’s stressing you!


    • Isabel, 5 years ago

      I really like your daughter’s strategy, and I’ll be blogging later on about a yoga technique that works in a similar way – it’s all about giving the mind something else to occupy it instead of the worries.