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Are you having difficulty sleeping, Not waking up refreshed, and Waking during the night? You may be suffering from insomnia.

  • Do you get less than 7 hours sleep a night?
  • Do you have difficulty falling asleep?
  • Wake up during the night?
  • Have dream-disturbed sleep?
  • Do you feel sleepy and tired during the day?
  • Prone to daytime napping?
  • Do You need to take a sleeping pill to help you sleep?
  • Or wake up after 8 hours feeling exhausted?
  • Feel irritable or cranky?
  • Do you have difficulty controlling your emotions?
  • Do you experience the lack of concentration?
  • Feel like you are going to fall asleep at the wheel of the car?
  • Feel the need to drink a lot of tea or coffee during the day?

You may be suffering from a sleep disorder. Sleep is one of the life’s necessities and without it, your overall health and emotional wellbeing can suffer and can simply put you in a bad mood. It can cause cravings for sweet food, tiredness, lethargy, affect your stress levels, cause you to overreact and impair your work performance. Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder and if you answer yes to at least 2 of the first 8 questions above you may being suffering unnecessarily.

Getting into a good sleep routine is the first step to overcoming this disorder.

There are a number of things you can do to help you establish a good sleep routine and enjoy the rewards of a good night’s sleep.

  • Establish a good routine, going to bed at the same time and getting up at the same time each night.
  • Turn off the TV, laptops, iPods, Tablets, iPads, mobile phones 30-45minutes before going to bed. Disconnect from the internet.
  • Start unwinding 30 minutes before bedtime using a set routine; your body and mind will begin to establish this routine with sleep.
  • Take a warm bath, listen to some soft music, read a book, meditate for 10 minutes before bed time.
  • Try using a Mantra e.g. ‘Release, Relax and Let go’ or try saying ‘I lovingly release the day knowing tomorrow will take care of itself’ by Louise L. Hay’.
  • Get into your favourite position and focus on your breathing, breathe in deeply for the count of 6, hold for the count of 4 and breathe out for the count of 6, as you fall asleep.
  • If you are someone who starts thinking about the day before going to bed and can’t let go of the thoughts, maybe consider having a diary or notebook to write your thoughts down before going to bed.
  • Alternatively, if you are a planner and start to think of tomorrow’s to-do list – sit down for 10 mins before bed and write it down.
  • Join a Yoga/Meditation class to help you unwind.
  • If you are stressed or worried about something, talk it through during the evening with someone close to you. It can help put things in perspective – as they say, a problem shared is a problem halved.
  • Avoid naps during the day.
  • Exercise regularly for 30 minutes minimum a day – Avoid exercising 2 hours before bedtime, as it can act as a stimulus.

Diet can have a big impact on your sleep

There are a couple of dietary considerations that can help you get a good night’s sleep.

  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Avoid chocolate/sugary or heavy meals close to bedtime, as they can affect the digestive system.
  • Have a milky drink close to bedtime (my preference is warm milk and ginger) or a lettuce and turkey sandwich.
  • If you are getting up frequently to use the toilet, consider cutting down on your fluid intake after 8 p.m.

Use your environment to encourage sleep

Setting the scene for a cosy night’s sleep can be a major factor in getting a good night’s rest.

  • Feng -Shui your bedroom.
  • Avoid having clutter in your bedroom, remove any bills and paperwork from the bedroom and store them elsewhere.
  • Remove TVs and laptops from your bedroom, this room should only be for two activities: sleep and intimate relations.
  • Does your mattress need changing? Is it comfortable? Good quality? Do you wake up with a pain in your neck or shoulders in the morning? You may need to change your mattress which has a lifespan of 5-7 years.
  • Change your bed linen regularly, dust and clean your room.
  • Use a blackout blind, ear plugs or a night mask to avoid stimulation of the senses during the night.
  • Get your bedroom temperature right, if your bedroom is too hot or cold it will interfere with your sleep.
  • Ensure your room is well ventilated and a cool room usually offers the best environment for sleep

If you do all of the above and you still aren’t sleeping, it might be an idea to seek some alternative solutions. At our healing centre in Lusk, we can help and Acupuncture, Reflexology, Indian Head Massage and Hypnotherapy can all be used to promote restful sleep as they work with both the cause and the symptoms, calming the mind and restoring your body to balance.

Post by Pauline Mc Cormack