Do you sleep like a baby? For a lot of people, sleep is a challenge. This is especially true for people living with M.E, Fibromyalgia or CFS. Some don’t get enough, some wake up a lot through the night and some people wake up feeling just as tired as when they went to bed.
I have 3 top tips for getting better sleep and to help get your life back. They are straight forward, common sense things that you probably know already.
But…have you put any of them in place? ~Did you track what happened when you make changes? What was the outcome and were you able to adjust your approach to see what happened? If not, then you may not have seen the hoped for improvements. There are 3 steps you can take to help – link HERE
Getting back to basics
Let’s go back to basics – in order to sleep like a baby, you may need to re-create some of the things that you experienced as a baby or as a parent helping your children to sleep well.
Spend a few moments thinking about your current “bedtime routine”.
Do you have a routine? Most of us will go through the bathroom, wash our faces/shower/bath, brush teeth, go the loo, so on and so on.
BUT what do you do before this??
If you take a look at the 90 minutes or so before you get into bed, I would like you to consider three areas:
Top Tip # 1 – Avoid Stimulants
This covers the biggest culprit, caffeine (not just tea &.coffee but other caffeinated drinks) but also includes all forms of alcohol and all forms of drugs – prescribed and non-prescribed.
(Please note: I am not making any recommendations at all about prescription drugs as I am not a qualified medical practitioner and not in any position to do so. You should consult your GP if you have concerns about the impact of prescribed medications on your sleep.)
Let’s focus on caffeine: you know it’s a stimulant i.e. it has a chemical effect on your body that stimulates activity.
But did you know that caffeine has a half-life of 5 hours? This means that if you drink it now, in 5 hours the level of caffeine in your system will be approximately half.
So what’s that got to do with your sleep?
Well, if you enjoy a coffee after your evening meal at, say 8pm, by 1am there will still be about half the level of caffeine swimming around in your body like some crazed chemical party goer looking for a nightclub.
You may not feel like the caffeine is having an impact, but there will be some kind of reaction taking place inside your body.
My advice? Don’t drink caffeinated drinks (including tea) after 2pm for 1 week and see if it makes any difference to you sleep.
If you don’t notice anything, go back to your usual routine, and again, take note of what happens to your sleep and notice any differences.
In my experience, you are more likely to notice the impact on sleep after re-introducing caffeine. This is because your body will have had a bit of a detox in the week ebfore and you are more likely to beaware of the impact of putting caffeine back into your system.
Top Tip #2 – Check Out Your sleep space
Uncluttered sleep space
We are vulnerable when we sleep. Psychologically, our mind finds it difficult to shut down if we do not feel comfortable, safe and secure.
Just think about how well you can you sleep when:
your room and bed are cluttered?
you are wondering whether or not you shut the door/set the alarm/what the dog is up to?
your bed isn’t comfortable?
the curtains aren’t pulled tightly together?
your bedding isn’t wrapped around you/smoothed out around you?
These are all examples o fthe sort of thing that our subconscious mind is aware of. That awareness “niggles” at us. If the niggle is strong enough, it can prevent us from falling into deep sleep because our subconscious is not able to switch off. It feels vulnerable.
Most of us don’t recall poor sleep as a child as it’s usually something that developed in teen years or adulthood. Think back to when you do remember sleeping well – what did you have going on around you in your sleep space at that time?
Now compare that sleep space to your current sleeping space. If things are different, then try to re-create the environment you had back then.
Top Tip #3 – Pre-Sleep Prep
As a small child, you would have had a bedtime routine of some description. It may have been something like tea, then play, followed by having a bath, reading a book, maybe having a drink of milk before actually settling down to go to sleep. One of the reasons for the routine was to calm you down so that you could go off to sleep.
Think about what your typical routine is nowadays…does it look anything like the routine described above?!
My experience is that most folks spend the time immediately before they go to be doing things like
using social media
working on laptops
Then they go through the bathroom and hop into bed. There isn’t usually any time built into the routine to decompress, relax and become calm. It’s little wonder then that we don’t sleep like babes anymore!
Spend a some time thinking about what you would love to experience in the hour before you go to bed as part of your new bedtime routine. (My suggestion would be that it doesn’t include gadgets (at all!) but does include things that help you to really chill out.)
Now that you have a routine in mind work towards putting it in place.
How can I help you?
All of the above is really simple stuff – the tricky bit is making it happen. That’s where I come in!
I work with people wo are tired, exhausted or living with a chronic fatigue condition. Togeter we tackle all and any problems that are part of their fatigue and poor sleep is a common issue. If you would like some support on this side of things – follow this link HERE.
If you prefer the self help route – take a look at Tired But Wired by Dr Narina Ramlakhan – link HERE . It’s a brilliant book packed full of ways to help sort your sleep out.