Do you find yourself alert in the evenings, with your mind full of the day’s events, unable to switch off and sleep?
Being wide awake in the evenings is one of the top reasons for insomnia and other sleep problems. If you read last week’s post or watched the video, then you will know by now that there are 4 pillars of great sleep.
The first pillar of great sleep is the ability to switch off in the evening.
If you identify this first pillar as your main cause of sleep problems, then testing out tips for this area will give you more personalized help, and therefore better results in your efforts for improved sleep.
So let me give you a few of my best tips for 2019 based on the first pillar of sleep, switching off in the evening.
Begin at the beginning – keep a sleep diary
Keeping a sleep diary for at least 10 days including two weekends will help you to identify those little sleep traps that you hadn’t consciously noticed before. You can download a copy of the Sleep Deep Method® Sleep Diary - scroll down to get your copy.
I often use this diary with my clients. It has a section for you to record what is stopping you from switching off and going to sleep each night. And the answers may surprise you!
So start with understanding where your problem comes from, so you can then take the next steps from there.
Transition from day to night
At first when I talk about creating an evening routine, you may think, “Oh no, not another pointless routine to follow.” So what I want you to know is that this is not about creating a routine for routine’s sake, and it’s certainly not about giving you chores to do!
This is about transitioning the mode you are in from busy and looking after the needs of others, to calm self-care time. When I explain it this way, it makes more sense to people, and it especially resonates with parents of young children.
When you are in your role as a parent, your own needs tend to come last, and ultimately your sleep suffers. For more on how to create your personal sleep transition routine, watch the video above.
Honour your personality type
Personality plays a big role in switching off in the evening. For example, I’m a very social, active and visual person. I love conversations and doing things, but found them over-stimulating before bed, filling my brain with ideas and keeping me thinking when I needed to be winding down.
So something that helped me to overcome my own insomnia was to turn my phone off about 60-90 minutes before going to bed. This gave me some mental space to process my day and problem solve any issues before I go into the bedroom.
It doesn’t need to be the same for you, of course, it needs to be personal to who you are. But do consider finding a way to wrap up your day, giving your brain a chance to process too.
It also helps to give yourself little breaks during the day; just 5 or 10 minutes where you put your phone down and tune into your thoughts. This develops the habit of processing your thoughts, making it easier in the evenings before bed.
For more on this, watch the video above in which I go into more details on these. If you know somebody who is struggling with sleep problems, please do forward this to them.