How’s your sleep been over the last 3 weeks?
We’re a little late due to the 3 public holidays and some football celebrations in the last 2 weeks, however, as promised, I wanted to share the top 3 tools that help me get my own sleep back on track. Not sure what I'm talking about? You can check out my blog on my own Insomnia here.
Let me start with a reminder that insomnia is a multi-faceted and complex condition. Treatment of insomnia often requires several interventions layered together and results are often a gradual, over several nights, rather than a complete 180 degree change in sleep quality.
With that in mind, I’ve definitely seen a large improvement over the past 3 weeks. Here are the tools that have really helped.
Relaxing classical music
Relaxing classical music is a great tool for slowing down the racing thoughts in our head. It gives us a space to focus our attention and the lack of lyrics stops us attaching our thoughts to words.
Relaxing classical music supports our central nervous system to slow down and feel at ease and multiple sleep studies have demonstrated a drastic decrease in the time taken to fall asleep for those listening to relaxing classical music before bed. One study in the Journal of Community and Health Nursing showed a decrease from an average 27 to 69 minutes to fall asleep, down to between 6 to 13 minutes.
My go to favourites are a playlist of relaxing Mozart or my daughters lullaby classics.
In the silence of the night my thoughts can be deafening. I often wake up at 2:00 AM I am with the same thoughts running around my head over and over again like songs on repeat. The reason we often struggled to turn these thoughts off is because we feel we need them. In the middle of the night these thoughts feel so important and subconsciously we feel we must refer back to them so we don't forget them the next day.
I give myself permission to let go of my thoughts by putting them down on paper. The reaction happens subconsciously but when you do write down your thoughts what you're actually doing is telling your brain that the thoughts are safe and that it can let go of the thought knowing that the thought can be safely picked up at a more convenient time.
The last few weeks I've committed to writing down my thoughts before I go to bed and I've found it to be incredibly helpful in stopping the middle of the night rumination and thought loops.
If you don't know much about hypnotherapy it's a style of therapy that supports you to achieve what’s known as trance state. All that really means is a relaxed state with a focused awareness. There's nothing hippie or woo about trance. Instead, it's a perfectly natural state that we go in and out of many times a day.
Hypnotherapy can focus your mind and attention in a way that allows you to receive suggestions that can positively change your thoughts. In a trance state, you are able to better focus in on the suggestion and understand it in a way that works for you.
Hypnotherapy is a great tool for insomnia as it can impact so many different processes and patterns that we run. The goal of hypnotherapy is not to fall asleep while in hypnosis, but hypnotherapy is used to help change thoughts, feelings and habits in relation to sleep so that we can get better sleep once the hypnotherapy is completed. Hypnotherapy is also useful tool in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression which can both impact strongly on sleep problems.
I use my own recorded self-hypnotherapy, and I find it incredibly useful in those moments where I struggle to feel in control of my internal systems such such as my thoughts.
Finally, please remember that sleep quality naturally fluctuates, however, prolonged changes in sleep quality may be a symptom of something else. If you've noticed a change and haven't been able to get your sleep back on track then please consult a medical professional for support.
Have a winning day!