Did you sleep well last night?
How well do you think you slept last night?
Have you noticed the obsession we have with how well we sleep? If we don’t sleep well then it is common to expect the day ahead to be a struggle not just with tiredness and concentration, but even with the expectation of headaches and other pains and our desire for quick fix junk food.
There has been a lot of research on sleep and amongst other things our perception of how well we have slept. In one study clocks were altered, one group so they thought they had more sleep than they actually had and another so they thought they had less.
The participants were then asked to assess a number of different areas relating to their physical and mental state, this included headaches, concentration, sleepiness, hunger etc.
The findings were consistent with other studies, including those that have shown that many people will underestimate the amount of sleep that they have actually had and therefore suffer real consequences:
Those who thought they had less sleep than they had actually had rated themselves higher in levels of tiredness, hunger and headaches and other negative physical and emotional states.
Those who thought they had more sleep reported feeling more alert, had more energy and concentration, less pain and normal appetite.
This is a great example of what you think is what you get, and how the mind and body are intrinsically linked. Your mind and therefore what you imagine creates a physiological response in your body, making the imagination self-prophesizing.
As humans there is no doubt we can be our own worst enemies!
This is why many of us are so obsessed with sleep, as we see it as impacting far more than feeling a little tired. Consequently sleep or lack of it can cause a great deal of stress or anxiety in many areas of someone’s life, and guess what? Stress and anxiety not only being one of the major causes of sleep issues but also manifesting some of the same symptoms as sleep deprivation would.
So what can you do about it?
There are many things you can do to address this and improve not just how much sleep you get, the quality of it, but also how you can still be focussed, energised and productive even when your night is disturbed.
My top 5 tips:
- Learn to relax as a tense body is not conducive to a good night sleep. There are many ways you might choose to do this from relaxation apps to reading to a warm scented bath.
- Ensure your day is balanced; If you have a physically active job you may need to do something with your mind to help you to relax, but if your job is sedentary then get out and exercise at some point during your day, a short walk or a few stretches at home will help.
- Park your worries: Night time is the prime time to mull things over and get things out of proportion. If you have concerns on your mind then write them down and leave them outside of the bedroom. If they do pop up in the middle of the night you can reassure yourself you will deal with them tomorrow.
- Address pain and anxiety: These are the biggest causes of sleep issues, many people resorting to medications to try and limit the symptoms and bring the longed for sleep. Unfortunately these medications are often not successful in achieving either and can themselves have unpleasant side effects. Mind based techniques from meditation, hypnosis and mindfulness have all been found to aid sleep and address pain and anxiety.
- BREATHE! Yes surprisingly enough many of us do not breathe properly and this can greatly affect the amount and quality of our sleep.
Learn some effective ways you can use your breath to relax and let go of stress and tension is this free breathing recording at https://alexawarner.co.uk/breath/
Good night, sleep tight….zzzzz
#sleep #mindfulness #meditation #hypnotherapy