Many of us have heard about how a good sleep is so important for our wellbeing, especially because of how it impacts both our physical as well as our mental health. Yet, experiencing problems that are related to having a restful sleep is not an uncommon situation. In this blog I will share 3 ideas that can support you with thinking of ways to improve your sleep.
- Observe the trends and patterns
Start by observing when is it that you tend to struggle with falling asleep. Do you struggle with sleep when you get anxious about pending work? Do your thoughts move from one plan to the other keeping you awake at night? Do your kids go to bed late?
Also think of the exceptions. Exceptions are those times when you had a more restful sleep. What happened on that occasion that was different to what happens when you struggle with sleep? Perhaps you worked out during the day? Perhaps you ate at a different time? Or maybe you felt grateful for something that happened during your day?
By observing the trends, you can start to narrow down the areas that you will need to address and the resources that can help you improve your sleep.
Start thinking of different strategies to experiment with.
The aim is to come up with solutions to what causes the sleep issues, while also increasing the frequency of the things that help you with restful sleep. Just to give an example; imagine that someone noticed that they worry a lot about forgetting what tasks they need to work on tomorrow, which keeps them up at the night. This happens often when they work late and go straight to bed after stopping to work. They also noticed that when they leave an hour of time to dedicate to something that they enjoy before going to bed, falling asleep seems easier. Some ideas of strategies in this case might be that of writing a list of tasks to be done on the following day in order to tackle the worry of forgetting. Perhaps also stop working at least an hour before their bedtime. This hour can be dedicated to doing something to take care of themselves.
These changes might require some experimenting until you find what change or combination of changes support you in sleeping better during the night.
3. Seek support
Some causes of lack of sleep may require additional support. For instance, if you recurrently struggle to fall asleep due to physical pain or discomfort, such as frequent heartburn when lying down, or back pain it might help to consult with a medical professional about this. In the case of recurring anxiety, stress, nightmares, perhaps you may also want to consider speaking to a mental health professional for support in addressing this.
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.
Rebecca Cassar is a Family Therapist practicing the Systemic Approach. She specializes in offering therapy to families, couples and individuals who are experiencing distress in their relationships. She can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 79291817