Ahhhhh, and Relax!
The Dalai Lama said, ‘Sleep is the best meditation’ and I think most of us would agree it is one of our basic human needs. There is yet to be a substitute for sleep. There is no pill we can take or ways we can cheat our bodies into thinking we have caught up on lost sleep. We feel better after a good night's rest, we look more ‘alive’ and have more energy. Crucially, our bodies have had a chance to repair at a cellular level. Sleep has a huge part to play in the recovery from injury and the management of pain. Most of us have noticed that when we have had a few poor nights then our pain sensitivity and/or our ability to cope with our pain alters – stubbing your toe when you are tired seems to hurt so much more!
A few tips to help with sleep:
Light, noise and temperature are important as these have an effect on the chemical and hormonal levels in our bodies, such as, darkness stimulating melatonin which induces sleepiness.
Avoid nicotine, alcohol and caffeine before bed as these stimulate our central nervous system, increasing our heart rate and adrenaline levels.
Avoid checking social media or work emails before preparing to sleep. These will stimulate the mind, adrenaline and heart rate.
Try to get into a routine of relaxation before trying to sleep – maybe a warm bath, meditation or reading a book.
Try to sleep when you are tired - if you are rubbing your eyes and yawning this will be a good time to go to sleep. You will be tapping into your natural circadian rhythm.
Stop checking your clock. f you wake up, try to avoid checking the time and worrying that you have to get up in two hours. Just roll over and trust your alarm will wake you for work.
If you are tossing and turning, then get up. Have a glass of water, listen to some calming music or read. When you notice you are sleepy again, go back to bed. Keep the lights dim.
Avoid high suspense/action tv before bed. Think about what this will do to your adrenaline levels.
There are lots of different things you can try to help. Make a list of what works for you. Remember also, not everyone needs 8 hours of sleep every night to function well. Explore your own sleep requirement.
There are lots of interesting articles about sleep online - these may be helpful: