20 Ways to Deeper Sleep
5-10% of the population – and twice as many women as men – regularly lie awake well into the small hours. In fact insomniacs underestimate the amount of time they do spend asleep. According to Professor Jim Home, Director of the Sleep Research Laboratory at Loughborough University, “most insomniacs get six hours’ sleep a night, which is quite sufficient”. A lot of the problem is in the mind, caused by stress and depression; lack of sleep will not kill you, but worrying about it could make you ill.
How could I manage my sleep better?
If you are suffering from insomnia, the biggest problem is that you will have developed is the habit of worrying about not sleeping properly; and if you expect not to sleep, then guess what? You won’t! So the first thing to do is to take away the fear of not sleeping. Sadly, however, this decision is not within your conscious control…or you would have already sorted out your problem; hypnosis is the only way to re-programme your mind to expect – and therefore achieve – a wonderful night’s sleep.
Whilst hypnosis can create permanent, positive changes to your sleeping habits, the lifestyle changes below will help you prepare yourself optimally for going to sleep.
- Have a hot milk drink (or camomile tea) before going to bed; remember the old wives’ tale? Well it works: milk has a plentiful supply of Tryptophan which induces sleep by producing the vital neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain.
- Avoid coffee or tea after 5.00pm. Caffeine stays in your system for hours and continues to stimulate the body well after you’ve finished drinking it.
- Avoid too much alcohol. The soporific effects soon wear off and the stimulant effect kicks in, waking you up and keeping you awake.
- Don’t eat just before bedtime. Finish eating at least 2 hours before going to bed and try to avoid sugary, spicy or fatty foods close to bedtime since these are harder for the body to digest.
B. Prepare yourself for a Good Night’s Sleep
- Take a good walk before bed. Exercise (but not too vigorous) will help you sleep.
- Stretch your body. Stretching gently and comfortably to the sides and to the floor, will help you sleep more restfully and soundly.
- Self-help acupressure. Press each of the following for at least 2 minutes, before you go to bed: 1. Inner Gate: in the middle of the forearm about an inch from the wrist crease. 2. Spirit Gate: on the wrist crease in line with the little finger. (Gates 1 and 2 can be pressed at the same time). 3. Third Eye: between the eyebrows in the indentation where the nose meets to forehead. 4. The Sea of Tranquility: centre of breastbone, three thumbs width up from base of the bone.
- Have a wonderful hot bath. A bath, especially with 3 drops of Lavender essential oil, will ease the tension from the muscles and allow you to unwind completely.
- Open a window. When you sleep, you exhale toxins and carbon dioxide from your lungs; in a closed room, you re-inhale those toxins.
- Sex is an aid to sleep. Enough said!
C. Lifestyle Changes
- Stop any demanding work hours before going to bed. Getting to and staying asleep is much more difficult if your mind is still racing.
- Talk over any problems before going to bed. As above!
- Don’t watch TV too late. Record it and watch it the next day
- Don’t do too much before going to bed. Make a list and do it the next day.
- Set your alarm clock for the same time each morning. It’s important to get up at about the same time each day (even holidays) to help your circadian cycles (your body’s internal time clock) maintain their rhythm.
- Go to bed an hour earlier. It may be difficult to start with, but one good night’s sleep has little effect. Make a habit of it and within a few weeks you’ll have more energy and your hair and skin will improve.
- Go to bed by 9.00, if only once a week. The hours you sleep before midnight are the most valuable and so you’ll awaken more refreshed than on the days when you stay up later.
- Keep a diary of daily activities and sleep patterns. You will soon recognise a pattern that may trigger your insomnia. You can then develop a strategy to avoid it.
D. Complimentary Help
- Take mineral and vitamin supplements to compliment your diet. Magnesium (150mg) 2 to 3 tablets taken half an hour before bedtime can help relax muscles. Valerian (400mg) is well known for its calming and relaxing properties, particularly when taken half an hour before bed. Multi-Guard, a multi-vitamin incorporating the B complex vitamins and 15mg Zinc to be taken in the early part of the day. Lavender: a small “pillow” of lavender placed near your head can help induce sleep. See our main website under Nutrition for further details or Click here.
- Take some Homeopathic remedies. Nux vomica 30c for those who experience insomnia as a result of mental strain, who wake about 3.00 and then fall asleep again as dawn breaks. Chamomilla 30c for a sleepless child who wants to be carried about. Ignatia 30c for those with a fear of insomnia, who get nightmares. Guidelines: take the homeopathic medicine one hour before bedtime for 10 nights; repeat the dose if you wake during the night and are unable to fall asleep again. Do not take them within 20 minutes of food, drink or using toothpaste.