New Year’s Resolution: Get a Better Sleep

New Year’s Resolution: Get a Better Sleep

Published by Ethan Wright on 26th Nov 2020

New Year’s Resolution: Get a Better Sleep

Already given up your New Year’s resolution at this time? Maybe the reason for not being persuaded by it is because you lack sleep? Well, why not getting better sleep be your resolution? Here are some facts and factors why you’re not getting enough sleep, and how to get it.

What are the triggers that stop sleep?

Below are examples of original triggers that might cause your sleep to suffer.

  • Life stress – anxiety or fear
  • Medical conditions – back pain or arthritis
  • Chemicals – excessive alcohol or caffeine
  • Circadian clock – sleep disturbance from jet lag or shift work
  • Environmental – excessive noise, light, and temperature
  • Hormones – pregnancy or menopause

In response, people often try habits that are unhelpful and even harmful – counting sheep, irregular sleep timing, medication or alcohol.

But these actions don’t work in the long-term and cause a cycle of sleeplessness.

The Vicious Cycle os Sleeplessness

You attempt to control your trigger with an action that amplifies your sleep issues and find yourself stuck in a loop:

  • Poor sleep
  • Worry about poor sleep
  • Struggle to control sleep
  • Increased struggle
  • Less energy

Your frustration with not sleeping grows so much you forget sleep is a natural process and should not require any conscious effort.

Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) for Sleep

The ACT is a psychological intervention that uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies. It has been proven by many studies to help those who struggle with sleep.

Using ACT, you need to:

-Accept the things you cannot change.

-Change the things you can.

-Understand the difference.

Instead of fighting, accept the fact you struggle to sleep.

The core method to this is mindfulness, allowing your thoughts to occur and observe the moment.

How to Use Mindfulness in the Bedroom

When lying awake, notice what is happening in your mind and your body and make space for those thoughts.

  1. Welcome your “unwelcomed thoughts.”
  2. Describe what these thoughts are in a non-judgmental way – give them a name such as “anxiety.”
  3. Visualize a space in your head for these thoughts to all sit, and observe them rather than fight them.

REMEMBER: Mindfulness is not designed to get you to sleep, it allows you to accept and observe your sleepless state, making space for natural sleep to follow.

Making Time for Wind-Down and Wind-Up

Your wind-down is what you do 30-45 minutes before bed. Your wind-up in the morning is just as important, as it can be tempting to stay in bed for those few extra minutes of sleep.

Wind-Down 1

  1. Stop Stimulating Activities – like things that involve a screen or listening to music.
  2. Engage in Gentle Activities – such as having a warm drink, brushing your teeth and getting ready for the morning.
  3. Read or Chat Briefly to your partner in bed, then turn off the light in preparation for sleep.
  4. Remove Your Clock From View – Clock watching is not helpful and can increase anxiety.

Wind-Down 2

  1. Get up at roughly the same time every day including weekends.
  2. Open the Curtain – get some light, have a shower and turn on the radio.
  3. Eat a Healthy Breakfast, and be sure to have a hot drink.
  4. Do an Upward Strength – raising your arms to the sky while looking up.

One Final Thing to Remember

Stay in Bed While Lying Awake

Getting out can form a bad habit. Gently increase your willingness to experience wakefulness to accept the pre-sleep.

So often we’ve been taught tips and hacks to sleep that in the long run aren’t always helpful.

Accept that some nights sleep might be harder. Examine your thoughts without judgment, develop a routine and lie back, allowing natural sleep to float you away.

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