As a hypnotherapsit and anxiety expert, one of the questions I get asked most often is: ‘What tips do you have for insomnia?’
According to the NHS, insomnia affects 1 in 3 of us in the UK.
Insomnia disorder is the worst
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Lying in bed with your brain still buzzing. That sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when you look at the clock and realise it’s only 4 hours until you need to be at work and you still haven’t slept.
Being so tired during the day you’d sell your Granny to be able to sleep. The only problem is, when your head hits the pillow, you toss and turn and just can’t switch off.
Here I’ve put together my top tips for insomnia disorder:
Caffeine hangs out in the body long after our last cup of Java. Experts suggest it could circulate in our blood for as long as 10 hours after.
A study found that drinking coffee 6 ours before bedtime reduced sleep by 1 hour.
So to be really sure, give coffee and tea the push after 12pm if you’re serious about getting a good nights sleep.
Alternatives could be decaf varieties, Rooibosh (my personal fave) or even (for the very virtuous) hot water with lemon.
Stories are for bedtime for a reason.
Reading some fiction (of the non-scary variety if you’re of a sensitive nature) for 20 minutes or so before bed can distract your attention away from work stresses and overthinking that could be keeping you awake.
Tim Ferris, lifestyle design expert, suggests it also helps to engage your imagination and connect you with the present moment, which will also aid in your relaxation.
3) Do not watch screens
If you’re often glued to your phone or computer screen before bed you’ll not only be amping up your brain (especially if it’s work related viewing) but the blue light emitted from screen could also be suppressing your melatonin levels (read: the sleepy hormone).
Stay away from devices for an hour before bed or instal Flux on your computer to reduce the blue-toned glare.
Plus, instead of sitting at your computer before bedtime, consider creating a relaxing bedtime routine, with a warm bath, calming music and a warm milky drink.
Ever find your brain is a muddle of ‘to-do’s’ for the next day as soon as your settle under the duvet? Get them out of your head and down on paper so that they’re not running rampantly through your mind when you’re trying to sleep.
Make your ‘to do’ list the night before and put those thoughts to bed, safe in the knowledge that you can return to them in the morning.
Listening to a relaxation or hypnosis MP3 when you get in to bed can calm the mind, relax the body and help you to switch off. Get one for free by connecting with me here, on WatchFit.
Many of us are deficit in magnesium, according to Nutritional therapist Mark Doyle.
This vital mineral is essential for the function of GABA, a neurotransmitter that calms the mind down and relaxes the body. Sources include dark leafy greens, nuts, beans, bananas, avocados and fish.
Or consider a magnesium citrate supplement, Mark advises.
7) Have a solid routine
As tempting as it may be to sleep in when you’ve be up all night with insomnia, this unfortunately can perpetuate the problem and create bad habits, according to the NHS.
Try to avoid napping too and stick to a solid routine to train your brain and body to sleep within the normal times.
8) Can’t sleep? Don’t try!
If you really can’t sleep, rather than feeling frustrated and anxious about it, get up and engage in a really boring, dull task (I’m thinking…tax return or an incredibly boring book!).
Then go back to bed once you start to feel sleepy and tried again.
So, which of these tips for insomnia disorder will you be trying out? Do you have any other suggests for us? Let me know in the comments below.
Connect with Expert Chloe Brotheridge