Are you struggling to sleep?

File:Free College Pathology Student Sleeping Creative Commons (6961676525).jpg

Many people find themselves struggling to sleep.  It may only be the occasional night, but for some, night after night is a struggle. Here are a few tips that may make a big difference. It’s not a case of picking the ones you favour, you really need to put as many in place as you can.

* Keep a fixed bedtime and getting up time even if your sleep has been awful.

* No reading, listening to the radio, watching television in bed.

*No computers, tablets, smart phones (the light omitted disrupts the release of melatonin, a hormone required to sleep)  – the bed is strictly for sleep and sex only.

* Put your watch and alarm clock completely out of sight.

* Use ear plugs and an eye shade in bed to keep avoid exposure to sound or light during the night.

* Avoid caffeine (tea, coffee, fizzy drinks and chocolate) and nicotine from 2PM.

*Avoid exercise in the hour or so before bed.

* Eat a small snack several hours before bed.

* Spend no more than 20 minutes lying in bed trying to sleep.

If you can’t fall asleep within 20 minutes, get up and go to another room. This room should be warm and dimly lit.  Then perform a relaxing activity (not doing daytime tasks which act as a ‘reward’ for staying awake).

When you start to feel sleepy, go back to bed.  If you are still awake about 20 minutes later, repeat the process.

* Absolutely no naps during the day at all.

* Just prior to going to bed perform a relaxing activity.

* Once in bed switch off the light immediately.

* Always remember that sleep will come to you naturally and that different people need different amounts of sleep.

* Remember difficulty sleeping is very common, it is not as harmful as you believe.  Getting upset about it will only make it worse.

Good luck in putting these strategies in place.

Remember, sleep is a passive process, the harder you try to sleep the harder it will be.

Contact me if you wish to book an appointment to look closer at any sleeping difficulties you may have. Alternatively visit www.insomnia-treatment.co.uk

Until next time. Steve

You may wish to know that Steve is now offering therapy sessions via Skype Please contact us through our website @ www.stevecliffordcbt.com

Visit our facebook sites:

www.facebook.com/yourmentalhealthmatters

www.facebook.com/bexhillmindfulnesscentre

Twitter @cbt4you

Steve Clifford                                                                                                                           Senior Accredited Integrative Psychotherapist.                                                                       Accredited Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist.

Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AFree_College_Pathology_Student_Sleeping_Creative_Commons_(6961676525).jpg

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Beat the winter blues

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While the summer may seem to be ideal for getting out and about, now is the time to be outside. As the seasons change and the sunshine fades away, all the beauty of Autumn appears. Trees take on the familiar reds and golds we associate with this time of the year and leaves begin to fall.

Rather than hibernate indoors, taking a stroll in the countryside can do much to lift our mood as the nights draw in. The colours of Autumn can inspire us and lift our spirits, so put on your wellies and head out into the countryside. Taking exercise and making the most of the light available can help fend off the “winter blues.” According to the SAD Association, about seven per cent of people are affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of winter depression and a further 17 per cent have mild symptoms or “winter blues”.

Waking up exhausted and wanting to sleep more is common in Autumn. This is due to longer hours of darkness which increases the amount of melatonin, the sleep hormone. If you can, stick to a routine of going to bed and getting up at the same time.

Shorter days and lack of sunshine reduces the body’s production of serotonin, which may influence mood in a way that may lead to depression.  Seasonal food contains serotonin-boosting carbs such as potatoes, pasta and rice and can help stave off low mood.

Just because it’s cold outside don’t just curl up in front of the TV. Certainly an evening watching a feel good film or chatting over home cooked food can be nice and make you feel better about life, but seeing friends is a must. Numerous studies have shown that spending time in the company of others prevents us feeling isolated and stops us getting down in the dumps.

Finally think about getting fit with endorphin boosting exercise, not only will this be good for you but you will have a three month head start on those who join the gym in the New Year!

Until next time. Steve

You may wish to know that Steve is now offering therapy sessions via Skype Please contact us through our website @ www.stevecliffordcbt.com

Visit our facebook sites:

www.facebook.com/yourmentalhealthmatters

www.facebook.com/bexhillmindfulnesscentre

Twitter @cbt4you

Steve Clifford                                                                                                                           Senior Accredited Integrative Psychotherapist.                                                                       Accredited Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist.

Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AHerbst.jpg