My 3 favourite (and so far most effective) techniques.
Lately not only has health been a challenge for me but we decided to toss a big move in there too (I mean, why keep things simple, right?!) aaaaand having just entered the glorious sisterhood of Menopause....you can see there are a few reasons my sleep has been pretty elusive.
And yet... there is hope!
I hear from so many women 40 plus - who have tried it all - all of which I still highly recommend:
- turning off tech an hour before bedtime
- creating a bedtime routine to calm the mind and body and get it prepped for sleep
- watching what they eat (or don't) after dinner (ie, stopping any food at around 6 pm is a great idea)
- exercising (extremely important to help us sleep/ rest/ de-stress)
I've learnt a LOT about myself lately and I've learnt probably even more about slowing down the mind; mindfulness and de-stressing. All with sleeping better and getting stronger in mind. And... here's what I've learned:
MINDSET is key. When we lie in bed focussed on not sleeping, we are in essence stressing about it. When we stress about it, our body (smart little bugger that it is...) is now stressed and I'm sure a few stress hormones are thrown in for good measure.
So .... if we can calm the mind and change the focus, we are getting somewhere. I too had tried what I thought were everything. And friends; I am struggling with tinnitus currently so to be able to fall asleep while massive bells are ringing in my ears... is quite a feat and I figure worth sharing the HOW.
So... what ARE these three strategies I now use? You'll be surprised. You might think they are nothing but they have worked and continue to. Stay with the list above.... and test these out.
Some advice first: Don't give up if on night one, one doesn't work.... this may take time. Be patient. It's about re-training the mind and body. So don't give up. Perhaps try one method for a week before going onto another.
Get Up. Literally. There is absolutely no point in staying in that bed of yours if you are not sleeping. You will be focussing on the fact you aren't sleeping and this my friend, is working against what you want. Your whole body and mind are fighting this and in turn... keeping you awake.
Have a "FLUFFY" book? A book that is mindless, fun, romantic? Have this ready in another room....use a book light (rather than turning on big overhead lights) and read. This is not the time to study rocket science or read a novel such as a thriller where you have to keep all the names in check and figure things out. Nope. This is the time to pick up one of those easy-to-read, no brainer but fun books.
But you MUST do this in a place other than your bed. You will find after a while (and friends, don't worry if this while is long.... stop worrying and just go with the flow here) your eyelids will become heavy and you'll be ready to get back into bed and snore away.
Strategy 2: Body Scan.
Again; may work for some and not for others, but this one works like a charm. NB: Important point to remember here: you may have to go through the scan 2, 3, 4 or more times.... but.... you WILL at some point find yourself waking up in the morning and realizing 'hey... I slept!'.
How does this work?
* Lie still.
- Breathe nice and deep (your belly will rise when you breathe in if breathing properly).
- Start at your crown and work your way down to your toes.
- At every muscle you reach.... contract for a count of 5, release for a count of 5, then move on to the next muscle(s).
- Do every finger, toe, eye.... the works. All while breathing nice and deep.
- If you start to think of housework and family.... REFOCUS on your deep breath to centre you.
Again; may take you a few attempts but go with it. Either way you are relaxing, right?
Strategy 3: ACCEPT.
This one believe it or not... has been THE one I've been using most; along with the ringing you'd think I'd never fall back but I tell you.... I wake up hours later realizing it worked.
All I mean here is this: I literally don't get worked up when I find I've woken up. I DON'T look at the clock.
I REPEAT: I DON'T LOOK AT THE CLOCK.
I realise I'm awake.
I don't give it any thought.
I focus on being comfy and rested.
I literally just lie there and chill.
And... ringing and all.....I fall back to sleep and wake HOURS later.
I was literally having 2-3 hour nights at first with all of this. Now... I will either sleep the night fully or.... get another 5-6 after waking.
And you know what I've learnt from this? When I'm not focussed on the negative (not sleeping) and just take it for what it is.... my mind is then destressed. I am not having any stress hormones released. I'm in a positive state..... and back to sleep I go.
Again... one of these may or may not be your thing but as someone who sleep was so elusive to for about 6 months... I highly recommend giving one or all of them a go.
Want some help? Guidance? Coaching through this? Reach out to me below and let's talk. If I can come through this I can help you do the same. Let's have a quick strategy call and see if there's anything I can do to help you along.
Lastly... goodnight my Friend!