Getting a good nights sleep
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Laura Mellins BA(Hons) Counselling & Psychotherapy, Dip. Couns. MBACP
19th July, 20160 Comments
If you experience sleep disturbances or insomnia then the thought of going to sleep can be full of stress and anxiety. Another restless night with little sleep and frustration as you pace up and down trying to clear your head.
There is a link between sleep and mood. If you’ve had a bad nights sleep you are probably aware your mood can be affected negatively. Sleep deprivation can also have an impact on a number of mental health conditions including depression.
It can be helpful to have a bedtime and a bedtime ritual. A bedtime ritual helps to educate your brain to learn your sleep and wake times, which helps your internal body clock to adapt to your chosen routine.
Here is a basic framework to develop a bedtime routine:
Choose your bedtime
Decide a target bedtime. As often as possible go to bed at that time.
Organise your thoughts
Psychologically end your thoughts for the day and bring them to some form of conclusion. If you have plans for the following day, write them down so they are not in your head. Make some preparations for the next day. A notepad and pen by the bed help if you find yourself overwhelmed with thoughts; write them down and address them when you wake.
Watching televisions or screens before sleep is not helpful as the blue light that they emit is disruptive to sleep patterns. Banish them from your bed time if you can. If you enjoy reading give yourself 20 to 30 minutes to read something for pleasure. If you are not a reader then consider getting a mindfulness colouring book and coloured pencils. Mindfulness colouring gets you focussed on the present moment and clears your mind of other distractions. It is relaxing and effective at distracting you from any stress and anxiety.
Relax into your sleep
Want to sleep but can’t drop off? Try a relaxing exercise which involves tightening your muscles, holding that for a few moments and then releasing. Repeat two or three times. Start with your toes and feet and work your way up through your body.
Imagine a place that you find peaceful, relaxing and calm. Concentrate on thinking of this special place and how relaxed you feel and hopefully you’ll find yourself dropping off in no time.
Say goodbye to stress and anxiety at bedtime and hello to developing positive, effective sleep patterns.
About the author
Laura Mellins is an experienced counsellor working with anxiety, depression, stress, bereavement and loss, abuse, self-esteem and confidence issues. Using an integrative approach Laura also helps clients work towards achieving stated goals.
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