How to sleep well again | Psyche Guides
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Another strategy that people sometimes turn to when they are desperate for a good night's sleep is drinking alcohol.
Sleep myth: it helps you to sleep.
Sleep truth: it might help you fall asleep more quickly, but it wreaks havoc on your sleep quality as the sleep you get is less restorative, your heart is working harder, and you're more likely to wake up in the night and have fragmented sleep.
Have a 60- to 90-minute winding down routine before you go to bed every night. This means doing things to help your body and mind feel relaxed and calm, and avoiding anything that overly stimulates the brain. Reading, light exercise, meditation, listening to relaxing music, having a bath, and self-care routines can all help. Avoid checking work emails, turn off notifications, don’t start planning or strategising, no gaming or social media. Think: gentle, relaxing, calm.
Stimulus control is all about keeping your bed and bedroom for sleep (and intimacy) only. If you have insomnia, that ideally means no eating, reading, working, watching TV, gaming, online banking, to-do lists and so on when you’re in your bedroom. This is because we want your brain to form a strong association between your bedroom environment and sleep.
Lots of people struggle with racing thoughts, where, as soon as they wake up, their brain suddenly switches on and their head is full of things they need to do, worries, memories and so on.
A strategy that can reduce the impact this has on your sleep is the ‘brain dump’ exercise – you might want to try doing this at least an hour or so before bedtime.
Jot down everything that is swimming around in your thoughts. The idea is that getting it out of your head and onto something physical, like a notepad, can help to ‘declutter’ the brain, and can even give you new insights and perspectives.
Progressive muscle relaxation is a great way to help the body relax.
It’s a simple technique that you can practise when you first get into bed. Here’s how to do it:
Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) is usually provided by clinical psychologists and cognitive behavioral therapists, as they have the necessary skills and knowledge to help facilitate change
CBT-I helps deal with the root cause of the issue and the factors that are making it worse, rather than just managing the symptoms
Make sure to ask about the therapist's credentials and any specialist training they have in sleep and about their experience and successes in treating insomnia
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