How did you sleep last night? Was it a solid 8 hours and you woke refreshed and ready to face a new day?
Or did you wake up already tired and feeling grumpy?
Sleep is vital to both our physical and mental health, and I bet you already know how difficult it is to function after a late night or a night spent tossing and turning.
So how can you get more sleep?
Not getting enough sleep effects us in many ways: it's impossible to concentrate, your skin looks sallow, and your eyes dull and puffy.
And how much harder does it make your day is when you're fighting to stay awake. Or how embarrassing it is to keep yawning when talking to people. Or how your brain simply refuses to help, and everything seems to take a so much more effort, and how it can lead to eating sugary rubbish in order to get a quick fix of energy.
I could go on...
Why do you stay up so late when you're fully aware of the consequences?
We've all done it! It’s so easy, isn’t it, to just read another chapter, or finish watching this program, or browse social media, or text friends, or just watch one more episode on Netflix I absolutely promise (...3 hours later…!)
Sometimes when you work long hours or have young children, the only time that's just yours is before bed, and you don't want to waste that precious time by going to sleep - even if you're tired.
You're neglecting yourself. You aren’t making your health and well being the priority they should be.
You KNOW you’ll feel awful tomorrow, but you just don’t care.
So your mission today is to look at your bedtime routine and make a change to encourage yourself to improve the length/quality of your sleep.
Waking refreshed and replenished will make all the difference to not just the start of your day, but the whole day.
For a simple yet effective way to encourage sleep, take a look at Neville Medhoras 'Amish hour' - an hour before you want to settle down to sleep, turn off all electronic gadgets - TV, computer, tablet etc. Couldn't be simpler!
Wind down at the end of the day with this simple, no tech trick
If you need some extra help sleeping? The Effortless Sleep Method is great and walks you through step by step, great even if you struggle with insomnia, and The Sleep Book: How to Sleep Well Every Night has a five-week plan to cure your sleep problem.
Or you could try the Relax Melodies app, where you select sounds and melodies to help you drift off. Choose from waves lapping, birds singing, rain, a cat purring etc etc. You can have more than one sound and different tones. It also includes a couple of guided meditations. There are more sounds and more meditations in the paid version, so if you like it it may be worth the small investment.
Sleep is a basic self care need, so if you are denying yourself quality sleep, where else in your life are you not looking after yourself?
So here's to a bright eye'd and bushy tailed tomorrow!
Something on your mind that's stopping you from sleeping? Counselling helps. Contact me now, and let's make a change
Jane Travis is a qualified and experienced counsellor and clinical supervisor in the Lincoln area. She has been working at Reflections Counselling Lincoln since 2005. She also helps other counsellors and therapists market and grow their private practices at JaneTravis.co.uk.