When you are a Rock you are constantly switched on, particularly if you are also a parent. There is no moment when you are not doing, thinking or noticing something. It can therefore be very noisy in your head when you goto bed.
Over the years I found myself struggling to get to sleep, often waking up and lying awake for hours. All the random thoughts would keep me mentally active enough that I wouldn’t be able to get to sleep.
These thoughts could be anything from, analysing the day, what needs to be done the following day and worry about the future.
The trouble is when you are tired you are less able to function effectively and it’s hard being a Rock when you are mentally and physically exhausted. You may find that your patience is limited, and tempers get frayed very easily.
Time for decent sleep!
I have found the following ideas really help. Sometimes one will work for days and then not work, but another will and it will work again another time. It’s a bit of mix and match.
Here are our top tips for a good nights sleep!
Before going to bed.
Transition to bedtime. This is about doing something which helps you unwind, ready for bed. This gives your mind time to recognise that you are moving towards bedtime and it’s time to quieten. It’s a bit like following a bedtime routine for a child. When my mind is racing I find that switching off the TV and either meditating or reading a book is really powerful. Here are some other ideas:
- Bedtime tea
There are a number of Bedtime tea’s to try. I find the Pukka Night time tea works best for me. This is based on lavender and just helps to comfort me and relax.
I swear by this one! I use it before I go to sleep and if I wake in the night. It usually sends me straight off. It’s a little bit of aromatherapy in a rollerball. I use the Tisserand Sleep Better one.
Try to focus on your breathing, slowing the rhythm and feeling the breath. How the breath enters the body and leaves the body. It might help to place a hand on your heart also and feel your heart rate slow as you relax.
Some people find a warm bath, candles and essential oils helps them head off to the world of slumber.
For some it’s important not to have a heavy meal before bedtime.
The environment in which you sleep is important, it can have a direct impact on how well you sleep, or don’t!
- Your bed and bedroom should be like a sanctuary. Try to keep screens out, many people have TV’s in their rooms, the temptation is then to confuse going to sleep with sitting up and watching a film.
- If you are a person who finds a cluttered or messy environment stressful its important to make sure your room is tidy, so you feel a sense of release when you enter it.
- Try and keep it a bit cooler than the rest of the house so that you don’t get too hot under the covers. The ideal temperature is around 18 degrees Celsius.
- The right mattress is vital, make sure it supports you well. The same is true for your pillows.
- Bed linen and duvet material should also be considered for example, if you are prone to asthma then feathers are a no go. Find the right material for you in your duvet and pillows and invest in linen you feel comfortable in. Some can make you too hot and sweat.
- Try and keep noise and light to a minimum, an obvious one I know!
What happens if you wake up in the night?
Did you know that there is scientific research and historical evidence that the 8-hour sleep routine is unnatural?
Humans naturally have several sleep cycles and it’s not uncommon to wake up around 2am. Both the experiments and historical references suggest a first sleep around 2 hours after dusk and then a waking period of one or two hours followed by the second sleep.
In the 15th Century people were quite active during the waking period between the 2 sleeps. They would often get up, read, write and pray. If their bed fellow was also awake, they would chat or have sex.
So if you wake don’t be surprised. The trick is not to get anxious as it may be a natural sleeping pattern and you will eventually nod off.
I often wake at 2am and can lie there for upto 2 hours before I finally get back off to sleep again. I sometimes use the pulse point sleep better roller ball to help me.
If you would like to know more about our waking period and natural sleep cycles, you can read the BBC magazine article here.
The power of intuition in the middle of the night
Have you ever woken up with a brilliant idea in the middle of the night? Our intuition is strongest at night time and it is then that we are more receptive to ideas and creativity.
If you get ideas coming to you and you try to hold onto them this will result in one of 2 things:
- You will either keep yourself awake by trying to remember
- Or; you will forget by morning.
If you find you are someone who has their best ideas in the middle of the night, keep a notebook next to your bed. You can write it down and then be free to go back to sleep without the concern of forgetting.
Today we are blessed with technology and therefore we have access to several Applications which are excellent for helping to calm the mind and get to sleep.
These can be accessed via your phone, but remember to use the auditory ones only, visual App’s will expose you to blue light and hamper your attempt to get to sleep.
I personally use the Calm App if I am really struggling to quiet my mind and they have specific sleep focused programmes on there.
These programmes will take you through relaxation and breathing techniques to help wind you down and lead you into sleep.
Finally, you are asleep and if you wake you now know why and have a plan to get back to sleep. After a few good nights sleep you should feel better able to support your loved ones and jump into your day with increased vigour.
We wish all our Rocks a good night and sweet dreams.