Not being able to sleep is a common theme these days.
I’m not great at the whole sleeping malarkey at the best of times. My ‘normal’ sleep is from about 11pm to 5am – anything more than that feels like a lie-in. But I can drop off on the sofa without even trying. Which is very trying.
And the trouble is, the harder you try to get to sleep, the less likely you are to manage it. There can’t be many things that are harder to achieve the harder you try to do them – but sleep is definitely one of them.
And there are lots of things out there that will stop you getting to sleep.
- Not being tired enough – maybe you have a job that tires you out, but now that you’re furloughed, or you’ve had to shut up shop, you’re just not doing as much during the day. So you’re just not tired enough to sleep, even though you might feel that you are.
- Being stressed – that’s the biggie. Even if you’re totally exhausted, if you’re feeling stressed your brain won’t be able to switch off. And who isn’t feeling stressed at the moment? None of us have ever been through something like this before, and none of us know how things will work out. I mean, if that doesn’t stress you out, you haven’t been paying attention. There’s so much that we don’t know.
- And that’s before we even start to think about money worries, relationship issues, loneliness, and good old-fashioned boredom.
In fact – is there anyone out there who is sleeping normally?
As a chronic not-very-good sleeper, I’m probably the worst person in the world to be making suggestions about how to get a better night’s sleep. But I’m not going to let that stop me.
Here’s what works for me –
- About an hour before you plan to go to bed, start to wind down. Look for calm, even boring, things to watch or listen to. Absolutely do not watch or listen to anything Corona Virus related.
- Go to bed later. You can’t sleep if you’re not tired, so don’t bother trying – go to bed at least an hour later than you normally would.
- I find that reading a book until I drop off, or watching the TV (nothing funny, or disturbing or even too interesting!!) for a while works for me. You basically need to give your brain something to do while your body falls asleep.
- Count – it doesn’t have to be sheep! Try counting your breaths – breathe slowly and count. In. Out. 1. In. Out. 2. In. Out. 3.
- If you’re still not asleep, don’t get cross or irritated by it or start tossing and turning. That won’t help at all. Think to yourself – I’m not asleep, but I’m lying down, and I’m warm and comfy. And when the alarm goes off I’m going to wish I could stay here, so I’m just going to enjoy lying here knowing that I don’t have to get up for ages.
- And finally, when it’s time to get up – get up!! Get up properly – get showered, wash your hair, get dressed in real clothes, have a proper breakfast. Don’t spend the day slobbing around in your jimjams. You can’t expect to go to bed successfully if you’ve never really got up.
If you haven’t slept well after all of this, comfort yourself with the thought that, eventually, you will be tired enough to sleep. Eventually.
How are things for you? Are you sleeping? What do you do to help?
Five a day – who you gonna call?
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