Having trouble sleeping? Do you lay awake at night and can’t stop thoughts going through your mind?
Not being able to get to sleep or waking in the night is a sign of imbalance. Here are some reasons why you may not be able to get to sleep.
The first thing to look at is how you react to stress. Notice how I said how you react to stress and not how much stress you have in your life. It is impossible to sleep if your nervous system is on high alert.
Everybody reacts to stress on different levels. Someone could have a highly stressful job like a fire fighter and they thrive off the excitement and another person living a day to day life could completely go into fight/flight because a simple task for the day didn’t go as planned.
When we are stressed, our body goes into fight/flight mode regardless of what is causing the stress. Some of us are programmed to be more ‘nervy’ than others through learned behaviour and generational programming. It also comes down to how we manage stress. If we manage stress well, then our nervous system will be calm and less re-active. If we are constantly in fight/flight mode then our bodies will think it is too dangerous to sleep!
Some great ways to reduce stress,
- Breathing exercises
- Finding a mindful hobby.
With the business of life, we tend to reach for caffeine to keep us going during the day. The problem is, we drink the caffeine because we need to keep going but them all of a sudden we want to stop and sleep and the body is still wired!
You should try not to have any caffeine past lunch time. Instead, take time out, even if its just 10 – 20 minutes, to breathe, be mindful and re-energise naturally, can make an amazing difference to your productivity and energy levels.
Melatonin needs to be released into our systems to allow us to feel restful, sleepy and ready for bed. But, before reaching for a melatonin supplement, try this technique instead.
Sleep patterns are a part of our circadian rhythm. Waking up and going to bed at regular times is important so the body knows what signals mean the release of what hormone. Serotonin is released in the morning to allow us to wake up and feel ready to go, and Melatonin is released at night to allow us to fall asleep. So what triggers these hormones?
The answer is, light. Before electricity, people used to wake up when the sun came up and go to sleep when the sun went down. Now with lights, tv, computers and phones, our eyes are seeing too much light which tricks our brain into thinking it is still daytime. It can reduce or even stop the amount of Melatonin released at night time.
Try and sleep with your curtains and blinds open, so you can wake up with the sun. Try do dim lights at night time, by just having a lamp on. And try not to have any devices close to your face for a couple of hours before bed. Going to bed and looking at your phone or laptop is way too over stimulating for your brain before bed and sleep.
This is our bodies natural way to stay in balance with our circadian rhythm. We have been doing it since the beginning of time.
Tricks to fall asleep at night
There are many ways to help yourself fall asleep, but you need to find the one that is right for you. The key objective though is to be able to clear your mind for long enough so that you will fall asleep.
Here are some ideas
- Guided meditation
- Listening to relaxing music
- Self Reiki treatment
- Focusing on feet and nothing but your feet (this gets you out of your head and calms the mind)
- Calming Essential oils (diffuser or a lavender pillow)
- Having a bath before bed
- Chamomile tea before bed
- White noise
- Breathing exercises (eg breathe in for the count of 3 and out of the count of 6)
Try one or two or more of these ideas and let me know how you go. It may take a week to get into routine so don’t be disheartened if you don’t fall asleep after one day or trying something once. It has taken a few years to get out of balance so don’t be surprised if it takes a few weeks to get back to your natural circadian rhythm.
If you would like to dive deeper into balancing your body and discovering why you can’t sleep, Book in Here!