Sleep affects every aspect of our lives and a good night’s sleep helps us feel better, more energetic, alert and more motivated the next day. If you’ve ever had the odd night of interrupted sleep or a few late nights, it’s unlikely to cause any long-term issues, but there is a close link between our mental health and sleep.
An ongoing lack of sleep can lead to sleep deprivation which can leave you feeling tired and frustrated, impacting your health, motivation and performance at work or your day to day life in general. When we don’t get enough sleep, it can reduce your problem-solving skills and reduce your ability to cope with stressful situations often leaving you feeling overwhelmed by deadlines and projects that you’d previously been able to deal with. Emotional feelings of anxiety, anger and depression can creep up and these are a common cause of further disturbed sleep and insomnia. Lack of sleep has also been linked to weight gain and reduced immunity.
It’s only since becoming a qualified hypnotherapist that I’ve fully understood how important it is to get adequate sleep. As we sleep, our bodies repair and restore themselves. The REM (Rapid Eye Movement) phase of sleep is vital for memory, learning and making sense of the day. The REM phase also replenishes helpful hormones including serotonin which makes us feel good and gives us a boost, which is why getting good quality sleep is so important.
If you’re suffering with sleep deprivation, what can be done? In my daily life, it’s so rewarding to work with clients that seek help for sleep issues. As we work to overcome the related issues and reduce their anxiety, they feel calmer and more relaxed which helps stop the cycle of negative thinking and rumination at bedtime. But, there are some practical tips that can help us all get the quality sleep we need:
Your brain triggers thousands of neurons with every thought and these neurons combine to form a neural network. Repeating the same thought process triggers the same neurons so, when we make a conscious effort to recognise the positive things in life, we build new helpful thought patterns which helps to reduce anxiety and promote good sleep.
It may sound obvious but making some adjustments to daytime behaviours such as reducing caffeine consumption, limiting the use of mobile phones and tablets before bed and taking regular exercise can make a big difference to how well you sleep.
Taking time to unwind and relax, switching off from the digital world before going to bed will also help you clear your mind. Find something that will help you wind down such as taking a bath, meditation or reading a book, whatever works for you. My clients use my free relaxation audio track at bedtime to support the process because it helps their mind relax and unwind, facilitating sleep.
Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is a very effect method of tackling the underlying issues which lead to sleep deprivation. It is a positive and enjoyable process which helps overcome the underlying anxiety or habits which may be contributing to poor sleep, which in turn improves sleeping patterns and provides the support needed to make the lasting positive changes to feel better and gain a better enjoyment of life