Updated: Oct 11, 2021
This is the fourth post in my Deep Sleep series, and it shows how you can say goodbye to sleeplessness and wake up refreshed and energized. Starting tonight. Follow these 5 tips to beat insomnia and get the sleep you need.
Getting a good night's sleep has so many physical, emotional, and mental benefits. Yet with all the distractions that demand our attention, going to sleep on time and getting enough rest has become extremely elusive to many of us.
This post gives you a shortcut to better sleep, with 5 things you can do to start getting more quality shut-eye… as soon as tonight.
(If you are wondering why sleep is so important and how we can make it a priority, see my interview on Thrive Global.)
In a hurry? For a quick summary, scroll down to the end of this post for the video.
#1 Know what is keeping you awake... and find solutions.
If you are battling to sleep, there is a reason. In fact, there are probably several reasons. The better you can identify and address these reasons, the better you can address them. And the better you can address them, the better you will sleep.
It sounds simple enough, but the reasons for poor sleep can be complex and interwoven.
In my own case, several factors were disrupting my sleeping patterns. Recently, while focusing on my relationship and career, hopes, and dreams, menopause came to visit. Oestrogen levels plummeted bringing on hot flushes, mood swings and muscle and joint pain. These symptoms in and of themselves impacted my sleep pattern. Mood swings made it difficult to unwind before going to bed, and night flushes kept waking me up! With self-study, I learned that Oestrogen also affects how my body utilises magnesium, a pivotal mineral for sleep!
My sleep has greatly improved since I changed my diet to be more alkaline and replaced more vigorous exercise with dance and yoga. I also developed and followed my own Guided Preparation to Deep Sleep instructions, now available online in video and audio formats.
What you can do:
Identify possible causes for your sleep issues, and consider ways to address them. You could ask your health practitioner, enlist someone close to you for insights, or even do an online search.
#2 Know your own natural rhythm and hours of sleep needed, and how to accommodate it in your household.
We do all have our individual sleep patterns, and we perform best when we can flow with them. But since we all differ slightly, this can present challenges when sharing a home, and even more so, a bed.
My partner of 14 years had truly short sleep cycles; every 4 hours he would wake and inevitably wake me too. He was accustomed to his sleep pattern and magically thrived on it. I did not. These nightly disturbances were my lesson in respecting my own natural rhythm and hours of sleep needed. I learned to set boundaries and start saying ‘no’. I am happy to say we did find a way to accommodate each other’s sleep cycles amicably.
What you can do:
Notice during what hours you get the best sleep. Compare this with your family members. Is there a way to ensure that you can all get optimal sleep?
#3 Know what balanced homeostasis feels like, and how to relax into yours
You know that feeling when you simply feel… good? That feeling is the result of what science calls homeostasis. Homeostasis is broadly defined as a balance between all the systems in a body, enabling optimal functioning.
It may feel viscerally different to us all. But in general, balanced homeostasis is when we feel physically and emotionally safe, we tend to experience positive emotions and feelings, like joy or love.
We each intrinsically know what our homeostasis feels like.
I feel these positive emotions when I am home, with family or friends, doing what makes my blood sing, like dancing, meditating. I love to spend time in the outdoors, in my garden, or hiking in the mountains. For me, these activities promote homeostasis. What about you?
What you can do:
Consider what activities bring you into homeostasis. How many of these can you incorporate into your daily routine, especially before bedtime?
#4 Know your favourable sleep conditions and how to apply them
Have you ever noticed that you sleep better under certain conditions? For example, when it is raining outside and the weather is cool, but you are cozily tucked in?
Certain conditions tend to promote better sleep for most of us. For example, a cool, dark and quiet room with warm, comfortable bedding and a clean, tidy environment tends to boost sleep for most people. Although we all have our quirks, this is a good starting point for anyone having trouble sleeping.
When I was younger, I could sleep through a hurricane. This is unfortunately not the case anymore. I discovered that I have become sensitive to the cycles of the moon, pulsating light of small appliances, electric current, ambient lighting, and noise.
Subsequently, when going to bed I draw the curtains during full moon, even though my garden is completely private. I either cover those pesky blinking tiny lights or switch the appliance off at the wall. My cell phone charges overnight at least 3m away from where I sleep. And my room is dark, door closed to inhibit any noisy disturbances.
I urge you to find the time and make the effort to ensure sleep disturbances are minimized as much as possible.
What you can do:
Take a close look at your sleep environment. Is your sleeping place cool, quiet and dark at night? Is it clean and tidy? Are your devices switched off overnight where possible, and at a healthy distance away from you? Experiment with improvements and notice how this improves your sleep.
#5 Find techniques that induce sleep for you, and practice them
The trick to falling asleep and staying asleep is to remove tension, stress, and stimulus. It makes perfect sense that stimulation and stress will prompt the brain and body to stay awake. If sleep is what we want, we need to eliminate these stressors and promote a sense of calm.
So, before going to bed I release stress through movement & dance, elongate my tired and stiff muscles with stretches, and finally achieve a restful state through correct breathing.
This routine has made a tremendous difference for me, restoring my natural sleep patterns and enhancing my overall health and wellbeing. So much so that I compiled my Guided Preparation to Deep Sleep tutorial series around it. I have been delighted to hear that users are reporting the same breakthrough results. Although sleep is complex and mysterious, it looks like we have a few of the keys in our hands.
What you can do:
Experiment with techniques that can help to induce sleep. I especially recommend light exercise (dancing definitely does it for me!), a relaxing stretching routine and soothing breathing exercises.
Need some Deep Sleep inspiration?
Sign up for my FREE Mini-Course to receive five lessons packed with powerful hints, tips and techniques for better sleep.
P.S. Discover other articles in my Deep Sleep Series at the links below: