Sleep is something many of us have trouble with. Like being the perfect weight, it can be something that we aspire to and sometimes we are a bit unrealistic about what is normal. However, it does make our lives much more enjoyable if we can get enough and there is a lot of evidence that it is important for our health in many ways, including affecting our weight; our mental health and our cardiovascular health. On average, we should aim for 7-9 hours per night, but it is totally normal to have some nights when we don’t sleep well and our bodies can cope with that, but not if we are regularly missing hours of sleep every night.
As someone who worked shifts for years, I am very aware of the affects of an altered sleep pattern and I relish the fact that I have left shift work behind, but there are many other reasons for lack of sleep. One of the main ones is that although we aspire to sleep well, we often don’t really prioritise it. We lead really busy lives physically, but especially mentally – at work, on social media, with our families. We then wonder why we get into bed and don’t instantly fall asleep! We have to find ways to relax that mean once we get into bed, we are in a better state to go to sleep. This will be different for everyone and may mean adding things in (bath, meditation, a walk) and/or taking things away near to bedtime (social media, screen time, difficult conversations, work emails, alcohol). As with everything, it is important to experiment with what works for you.
I have used guided meditation/hypnosis to help me sleep for a long time. Sometimes it’s a bit of a tussle between that and reading at bedtime, but I have definitely found that meditation/hypnosis really improves the quality and quantity of my sleep, so it is worth it.
I have some favourite resources that really help me. My current favourite is EnTrance on YouTube, their sleep hypnosis sessions really improve my sleep quality and I really like that they are only 30 mins. They also use binaural beats, so it is best to listen on headphones.
There are generally lots of different guided meditations/hypnosis sessions from various creators on Youtube, so there is something for everyone.
I also really like an app called Insight Timer (terrible name in my opinion!). However, they have tons of free meditations, again with lots of variety to choose from and you can sort by length etc. which is handy if you don’t have much time.
I also like a app called The Tapping Solution. This is based on Emotional Freedom Technique, which is hard to explain except that you tap on acupressure points whilst talking to yourself (silently). It is one of those things that sounds a bit mad, but is actually really effective. They also have quite a lot of free content and they have sessions for anxiety, pain etc. as well as for sleep.
I hope some of these suggestions are useful. Sleep is one of the topics covered in my Yo-Yo Dieting Escape Plan as it makes such a difference to our lives, so feel free to get in touch if you’re interested.