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Tips for Getting to Sleep

Tips for getting to sleep

As we approach World Sleep Day on March 16th, we will be sharing articles on how important sleep is, how it affects your day-to-day lives and tips and tricks to help you get more sleep.

Sleep is crucial and plays an important role in your physical and mental health. The amount of sleep you require can vary for different individuals but the amount of sleep you achieve in 24 hours can easily be affected by various factors. For example change of routine, stress, work life, social life etc.

Here are some good to know tips on getting to sleep:

  • Avoid clock anxiety- staring at the time when you are having trouble getting to sleep can increase stress and make it even more difficult to get to sleep. One solution is to simply face the clock away from you.
  • Use a relaxation technique such as mentally concentrating on relaxing your muscles or trying to think of nothing.
  • ‘Paradoxical intention’ can help you fall asleep more quickly – try as hard as you can to stay awake with your eyes closed while lying in bed.
  • If you still can’t sleep, leave your bedroom and do something relaxing like reading in a dimly lit room.

If you are having difficulties getting to sleep, try this three-step technique. It’s designed to help you to exclude distractions and to focus your mind purely on relaxing to increase the likelihood that you will fall asleep.  Keep your eyes closed for each step. You may want to use an eye mask and earplugs to ensure you aren’t disturbed.

Step 1: Relax your muscles

Relax the muscles throughout the body by visualising each part of your body relaxing. You could start by focusing your attention on your toes and imagining them becoming warm, heavy and relaxed. Once you have achieved this, move your attention to your feet and gradually move up the rest of the body, continuing to relax each part in turn.

Step 2: Breath slowly and deeply

Use your stomach, rather than your shoulders and upper chest, to take long, deep breaths. Concentrate on each deep inhale and exhale until you have established a relaxed breathing pattern that will continue through step 3.

Step 3: Focus your thoughts

One effective way to divert your mind away from every day or stressful thoughts is to focus on the repetition of a neutral word or imagine yourself in a relaxing place. For example, you may repeat the word ‘nothing’ silently. Alternatively, you could imagine a scene that you find relaxing and try to picture yourself there. You might imagine yourself lying on a faraway beach or floating on a cloud. If your mind begins to wander, don’t worry; simply guide your thoughts back to the word or image on which you have been focusing.

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