Health and Wellbeing
5 Ways to Get Disruption-Free Sleep
Nature has cleverly designed us to spend a third of our lives sleeping and when we sleep well, we are replenished and restored on every level. Whether that be physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. Getting the right amount of sleep is important and it is equally vital that you are getting the right quality of sleep. When your sleep is disrupted, this can affect your sleep quality causing you to wake up feeling more tired and unable to focus on tasks. Everyone experiences the occasional night of disrupted sleep but if it becomes a chronic problem, this can undermine your health and quality of life.
Disrupted Sleep and Your Health
The health risks associated with poor sleep include the neurodegenerative disorders Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Chronic sleep disruption can also affect your mental health and can lead to depression.
While it’s definitely not desirable to have constantly disrupted sleep it might be reassuring to know that it is normal for you to wake during the night. In fact, everyone does wake during the night, but you usually won’t remember each awakening. However, it’s not normal, or ideal, to stay awake tossing and turning, unable to get back to sleep. Conditions such as restless legs syndrome and obstructive sleep apnoea can cause sleep disruption. Additionally, poor lifestyle habits such as excessive napping during the day, poor nutrition and hydration, too much caffeine or poor sleep hygiene e.g., watching tv in bed can all contribute to poor sleep quality and sleep disruption.
Here are some tips for helping to minimise sleep disruption and to help you to get back to sleep if you wake during the night.
Mindset is key here. Try to accept that it is normal to wake during the night, which may help to relieve your sleep worries. If you struggle to get back to sleep, focus on resting rather than sleeping. Whatsmore, if you have an Oak Tree Mobility Adjustable bed you could make some small adjustments with the remote to help you find the exact position to optimise your ability to rest in comfort.
2. Don’t Check the Time
Clock watching is the biggest hindrance to getting back to sleep. Checking the time brings your brain back into full wakefulness because we need to be fully alert to register a number. Turn your clock away from you so that you can’t see it during the night and avoid looking at it.
3. Have a Bath
Soaking in an epsom salts bath before bed can help to soothe restless muscles and set you up for a good night's sleep. Steep your bath water and add a mug of salts to the bath. Avoid using soap in the bath where possible and soak for around 20 minutes to get the full benefit of the healing salts.
4. Breathing Techniques
Breathe your way back to sleep. When you wake up, place one hand on your belly and the other over your heart. Focus on following your breaths by silently repeating the words IN and OUT and gently encourage your breath down into your lower belly. Keep following your breath and remember to focus on resting rather than sleeping.
5. Gratitude to Help You Sleep
If your mind is racing, a simple gratitude meditation is a powerful and effective way of guiding yourself back into sleep. Place one hand over your heart and the other over your belly. Close your eyes and follow your breaths (as above). In your mind, go backwards through your day, gently focusing on every small thing that happened that you are grateful for. Silently say ‘thank you’ each time you remember something. Take your time doing this, the slower you can go, the better.
6. Love Yourself to Sleep
This is a form of autogenic training or self-hypnosis. With eyes closed, bring your mind to your left foot and repeat the following silently as you work your way up your body:
I LOVE MY LEFT FOOT
I LOVE ALL OF THE TOES OF MY LEFT FOOT
I LOVE MY LEFT ANKLE
I LOVE MY LEFT CALF MUSCLES
I LOVE MY LEFT SHIN
I LOVE MY LEFT KNEE
Keep working your way up the left side of your body. When you lose your train of thought, go straight back to the start and begin again: “I LOVE MY LEFT FOOT” etc.
Don’t worry about getting the words wrong, you can make them up yourself. The important thing is to start on your right or left foot, and work your way up to the top of your head and down the other side. Simply go back to the beginning of the exercise if you drift off.
For more tips on setting yourself up for a great night’s sleep, you can also read my 5 non-negotiables for a good night’s sleep here.