Foundational to our well-being, yet rarely sufficiently guarded, sleep is an area of therapy that constantly arises.
Studies strongly indicate a bi-directional relationship between sleep and mental well-being. When we are achieving 7 hours or more of restful sleep - our performance is enhanced, our capacity for emotional regulation increases, and our health improves.
So let me ask you two questions:
“Do you feel refreshed when you wake?"
… If the answer is “no”, then please read on
“Do you experience overwhelm, or find that you are not coping, at different points in your day?”
… if the answer is “yes”, then definitely read on
When thinking about sleep, I take an holistic approach. I want you to not just think about that moment your head hits the pillow, but the whole picture of your day and how you can adjust your relationship with sleep and your sleeping space.
Common sleep interfering culprits
- Caffeine – caffeine is a stimulant and that is part of why we love it, but also it negatively impacts our natural ability to find centred calm - think about you reducing your consumption, switching to decaf or cutting out caffeine.
- Alcohol – alcohol is a depressant and metabolising alcohol is very demanding for the body, commonly resulting in sleep disturbance and flattened mood - think about reducing your consumption, limiting it to weekends only, or even better cut alcohol out of your life.
- Tech – ranging from your smart watch, your phone, to your TV – tech is incredible, but is also highly stimulating for our brains. Remove tech from the bedroom and step away from all things tech at least an hour (or even better two hours) before bed.
Unexpected elements that can mess with sleep
- Low iron – apart from feeling exhausted due to low iron, research demonstrates a strong correlation between iron deficiency and lowered sleep quality – 3 x meals per day, with adequate protein in every meal may help
- Sleep apnoea – do you snore loudly and wake feeling exhausted? – consider getting this checked with your GP
- Dehydration – research demonstrates a link between sleep deprivation and dehydration – up your water and non-caffeinated drinks 8 x glasses per day
- Magnesium deficiency – magnesium is reported to support sleep and improve our capacity to navigate stress – consider taking a supplement or using a topical magnesium spray
Things you can do
- Exercise early - walk or exercise outdoors in the early morning light – set your circadian rhythms & release stress
- Sanctuary of calm - make your bedroom a sanctuary of uncluttered calm and remove all stimulus (including tech)
- Alarm clock - invest in an alarm clock that is not your phone
- Find centre - throughout your day, using mini-mindful moments, come back to centre
- Turn down the lights - near the end of the day, turn down the lights and light a candle or burn some essential oils, to stimulate those sleepy hormones
- Herbal tea - mindfully enjoy a sleep inducing herbal tea
- Bath - take a gentle bath or shower – helps raise, and then lower your body temperature in preparation for sleep
- Yoga - consider some sleep inducing yoga stretches (wide knee child's pose, legs up the wall, corpse pose)
- Read - invest in a good book
- Cool, quiet and dark - keep your bedroom cool, quiet and dark
- Turn out the light - the moment you feel ready for sleep, turn out the light – do not fight it
I hope you found this helpful.
Take a look at our SLEEP RANGE for more inspiration.
And as always stay in touch. It is through connection we heal.
Love Sarah xx