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Sleeping Works


The more I practice as a psychotherapist, the more I have come to the belief that good sleep is the absolute foundation of wellbeing.


The occasional bad night's sleep should not be a cause for concern. Regular poor sleep can affect the ability to function whilst performing daily tasks like working or driving.



Beyond this, chronic poor sleep could increase the likelihood of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia, and obesity. It can even cause cancers of the breast, colon, ovaries and prostate.


Experts recommend that adults should sleep between 7 and 9 hours a night. This varies by person.


Adults who sleep less than 7 hours a night may have more health issues than those who sleep 7 or more hours a night. Sleeping more than 9 hours a night is not necessarily harmful, and may be helpful for young adults, people who are recovering from sleep deprivation, and people who are sick.


If you are struggling to get enough sleep, or quality sleep, I recommend that you attempt to develop good sleep hygiene. Here are some top tips to help create this....


Create a bedtime routine and stick to it

  • Consistency helps regulate your body's internal clock

  • Relaxing activities before bed can promote better sleep

  • Keep your bedroom conducive to sleep - the bedroom is for sleeping only. No screens!

  • Maintain a comfortable temperature and darkness

  • Invest in a good mattress and pillows for optimal rest


Limit electronic devices before bedtime

  • Blue light can disrupt your body's natural sleep cycles

  • If you must do anything cognitive, try reading a book or listening to calming music instead


Avoid caffeine, alcohol and heavy meals close to bedtime

  • Stimulants and heavy foods can interfere with sleep quality

  • Opt for herbal teas such as Red Bush, or light snacks if absolutely necessary


Practice relaxation techniques to unwind

  • Deep breathing exercises and meditative techniques may help calm your mind

  • Progressive muscle relaxation can release physical tension


Exercise regularly but avoid intense workouts before bed

  • Physical activity promotes better sleep quality

  • Opt for gentle exercises like yoga in the evening



Here are two particular techniques that I use personally....


Distant Thunderstorms - I use an Alexa skill which plays distant thunderstorms to me. I say "Alexa, Start Distant Thunderstorms" and at a low volume, I am exposed to the sound of light rain and thunderstorms. I believe this allows my brain to focus on a sound, rather than my thoughts. Some people play white noise, rainforest sounds or a babbling brook. Choose something that works for you.



Grand Designs - I play a game where I design my ideal home as if I was on Grand Designs. After about ten minutes, I tend to drop off - long before my ideal house is ever finished. I'm not sure Kevin McCloud would approve!





Let me know if these work for you. If you have any further tips to share, drop them in the comments section below.


If you would like to discuss anything sleep related with a psychoptherpist, perhaps you might consider working with me. Drop me a message by email on chris@talkingworks.uk


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