We all know the vital importance of a good nights sleep in boosting your mental wellbeing. Continual poor sleep can have detrimental effect on our lives. This can result in us feeling constantly tired, suffering from poor concentration/co-ordination, irritability, and generally feeling low, making us unable to function properly and carry out important daily tasks. This can be dangerous in certain jobs which require good concentration.
I am one of those lucky people who has generally no problem getting off to sleep and can get back to sleep easily when (or if!) I wake during the night.
However this was not always the case. Previously suffering from depression and severe anxiety this resulted in me having an extremely poor sleep pattern. In fact some nights I got no sleep at all and others a few hours when at my worse. I then developed an anxiety around not been able to sleep. It was a vicious circle I was in and needed to get myself out of it, as my health and wellbeing was really suffering.
Once I began to get myself back on track, my sleep started to improve over time. I gradually taught my brain to switch off at bedtime and fill it with happy thoughts. I told myself bedtime is for sleeping and nourishing my body in preparation for daytime and I realised that worry is such a waste of precious time and energy. I now try to fill my life with things which make me happy and smile, leaving very little time for worry!!
Here are some of the things I found which helped me personally. Each persons situation is individual, and it is important if there is a reason for you not sleeping well, it is tackled or resolved if possible.
- Try to not continually say I suffer from insomnia, as this just reconfirmes to your brain a negative thought. Just think this is a difficult period, which is only temporary, not easy I know, but it creates a more positive mind set.
- Taking up some form of exercise you enjoy to aid relaxation. I love Yoga and Pilates and practise it daily. Although I know this is not not always possible, but say 15 mins 3-4 times per week and one class and you would feel the benefits and built from there.
- Using aromatherapy oils which I could not live without! These oils are perfect in a bedtime bath: 3 drops Lavender; 1 drop Chamomile; 1 drop Marjoram and 2 drops Rose. Add the oils after your bath has been filled with water and a splash of milk to help disperse the oils. (If you suffer from low blood pressure or epilepsy don’t use Marjoram)
- The use of aromatherapy oils on your pillow at bedtime: 2 drops Lavender and 1 drop Chamomile.
- An aromatherapy massage using a bespoke blend of oils according to ones needs is a perfect way to relax and unwind. Also an Indian head massage is an excellent stress buster, helping to aid sleep. As treatments have an accumulative effect, benefits are most felt with regular sessions.
- A soothing and relaxing tea such as Chamomile or Rose or a preferred good quality blend you enjoy.
- If your sleep pattern is really affecting your health, then it is important you seek medical advice. I found a particular form of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which included visualization techniques worked very well for me and of course treatment from a very experienced therapist. Each of us are unique, and our situations are different, but we must be prepared to help ourselves.
I hope you find this helpful and I’m sure many of you out there can relate to this situation. For me the main bit of advice I have taken from my experience, is your ‘mental wellbeing’ is top of the priority list and everything else comes after. So be good to yourself, make and take some time for relaxation, and watch things progress!