How to sleep better and have more energy

This weekend the clocks have turned back in Ireland and the UK and there will be changes in USA in the coming days. While the reasons for the ‘Spring forward, Fall back’ changes in daylight saving time are historical, without a doubt they can have an impact on the quality of our sleep.

The time we go to bed and get up can have a big impact on our circadian rhythm. Poor sleep, sleep problems and insomnia can become more apparent when we gain or lose an hour and sleep is fundamental to our health. Some studies have even shown an increase in heart attack and stroke rates in the week following the change in daylight savings.

Insomnia and other sleep problems

Understanding sleep, how and why we develop sleep problems such as insomnia, sleep apnea, nightmares and other issues with sleep can help us learn how to sleep better. Through developing our knowledge of the mechanics of sleep we can identify where the issue is and put a plan for sleep in place to address this.

Overthinking at bedtime

We might need to learn how to stop thoughts affecting our sleep. Perhaps you are overthinking at bedtime, with thoughts chasing around and around in your head. Some of us dread going to bed and lying there tossing and turning. The solution may be about challenging those thoughts and changing the script in our head about sleep and bedtime.

Meditation for sleep

There are lots of relaxation practices and meditations for sleep, and finding the right one for you can take a little bit of time. However, it is worth persevering to develop strategies to help you to relax before bedtime and increase your sleepiness. Progressive muscle relaxation, guided meditations, controlled breathing, mindfulness, yoga and tai chi are all options to consider.

Sleep aids

Additionally there are many types of sleep aids that can support sleep. Some of these are very expensive, and it is important to ensure we are choosing the right sleep aid for our individual issue. First identify what problem you are trying to solve and then consider the cost, quality and efficacy of the product you think might help.

Professional support for sleep

There may come a point when we need to talk to a health professional about our sleep. This could be our family doctor or an occupational therapist. Be really clear about your sleep schedule, sleep routine and how it is impacting on your life. Maintaining a sleep diary in advance can be very helpful to the health professional in identifying the correct course of action.

Develop a plan for sleep

When we are tired, sleep can seem elusive and it can be hard to know where to start. However, there are many ways to tackle sleep problems. A great starting point is educating ourselves about sleep, sleep difficulties and tools and techniques for improving sleep. From there we can develop a clear and structured plan to address the sleep issue. If it feels too daunting to do this yourself, this evidence-based course, designed and delivered by health professionals is a really good place to begin. Give yourself the gift of good sleep and sign up today!