Tricks to sleep well

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - News - DEN­NIS J HOIBERG The Re­silience Whis­perer

ANY­ONE who has worked with me or heard me speak knows the em­pha­sis I put on sleep.

Sleep is fun­da­men­tal to your ev­ery­day well­be­ing.

Be­sides the ob­vi­ous ef­fect on your func­tion­ing, there are se­vere health risks to sleep de­pri­va­tion. For ex­am­ple, los­ing just a sin­gle night’s sleep may af­fect your liver’s abil­ity to pro­duce glu­cose and process in­sulin, in­creas­ing the risk of meta­bolic dis­eases such as he­patic steato­sis (fatty liver) and type 2 di­a­betes. That’s just one ex­am­ple that high­lights the im­por­tance of sleep.

An adult gen­er­ally re­quires around seven to nine hours.

An im­por­tant thing to note is that it’s not just about how much sleep you get, but the qual­ity of that sleep. We crave restora­tive sleep.

As al­ways, the chal­lenge is how to get those good qual­ity hours.

Here are three ar­eas to fo­cus on:

■ EN­VI­RON­MEN­TAL: Your bed­room has to be cool (prefer­ably around 18.33 de­grees), dark and com­fort­able.

Try not to over­whelm your rest­ing space with tech­nol­ogy.

Put your mo­bile phone on flight mode overnight if you need it on and place items around the bed­room that gen­er­ate pos­i­tive feel­ings, such as pho­tos or flow­ers.

■ PRO­CE­DURAL: Try to go to bed and sleep around the same time every night.

The op­ti­mal time to re­tire for the day is about 10.30pm and to rise about 6am.

Your brain loves the cer­tainty of that rou­tine, so stick to it.

Limit any day­time naps to

20 min­utes max­i­mum. This avoids in­ter­fer­ing with the rapid eye move­ment (REM) part of your sleep cy­cle.

Avoid smok­ing, al­co­hol or any caf­feinated bev­er­ages prior to sleep.

En­sure you have a good qual­ity pil­low and blan­kets that aren’t too heavy.

Avoid rig­or­ous ex­er­cise prior to bed­time. Opt for a re­lax­ing

20-minute slow walk in­stead as this may help pre­pare for the sleep you need.

De­velop a rou­tine where the last 45 min­utes prior to sleep are filled with ac­tiv­i­ties that re­lax your brain in­stead of get­ting it ex­cited.

Again, your brain loves the cer­tainty.

■ MIND­SET: You need to be re­laxed when go­ing to sleep.

Many peo­ple I work with sleep from ex­haus­tion.

As soon as their head hits the pil­low, they are asleep, only to wake up 90 to 120 min­utes later.

We all have wor­ries that hin­der our abil­ity to sleep so it’s im­por­tant to try and man­age our thoughts and re­lax our minds as we un­wind for bed.

These wor­ries are real so don’t try to ig­nore them – ac­cept them and get into the habit of writ­ing down your wor­ries prior to go­ing to sleep. Then, re­flect on your world and fo­cus on the things that you ap­pre­ci­ate and are grate­ful for. These are the first two steps to­wards find­ing joy.

This may help your brain re­lease re­lax­ing stim­u­lants as op­posed to stress stim­u­lants.

If you can’t sleep, don’t lie awake telling your­self to go to sleep. All this will do is ag­i­tate you more. Rather, get out of bed and do some­thing gen­tle, like read­ing a book, to re­lax your brain.

Sweet dreams!

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