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How to feel better when sleep is a stranger

Updated: Jul 13, 2023

Lately I've been getting nowhere near enough sleep - which is a bit of a strange admission for somebody who helps a lot of their clients sleep better.

I have a good reason though, which takes the shape of an 11 week old baby.  Ah.  No getting round that one!

If you're also in the sleep-deprived camp - hi and welcome to the club!  You might be interested to know that there are things you can do to feel a bit less dreadful.  

Here are my 5 top tips for improving sleep and handling the red-eye:

1. Try to stay active

It might sound counterintuitive - why would you want to expend more energy when you're already tired & frankly can't be bothered?  But doing things is a great way to fool the brain into thinking it's business as usual.  The more we sit and think about how tired we feel, the more tired we perceive ourselves to be... play this little trick on yourself and you'll feel much better, especially if it involves some fresh air & exercise.

2. Avoid sleeping pills and booze

Much as you might be desperate to get some sleep, both actually disrupt vital REM sleep - which means you might be physically 'asleep', but your brain isn't de-cluttering & offloading stress as it should.  This makes us even more stressed, anxious, miserable, short-fused... and less likely to sleep well the next night, too.

3. Try to stick to a regular pattern  

It might be tempting to try and lie in all morning on a weekend to make up for late nights in the week, for example - but going to bed and waking at different times each day confuses your body clock.  And - sad times - the lie-in actually does nothing to compensate for the earlier sleep loss; once it's gone it's gone according to the latest sleep research.

4. A short nap can help - but make it a short one!  

20 minutes or so can be a great help - much more can leave you feeling groggy and mess your body clock up, as above.

5. Try to stay positive 

A sleep-deprived brain is much more prone to negative, confused thought as basically there's a lot more rubbish knocking round in there, getting in the way of clear thinking.  Being aware of this means you can be kinder to yourself and try to steer away from negative thoughts, which just make things worse.  Thinking of a few things you're grateful for can help reset a grumpy, tired brain and set you up for a better day no matter how tired you are!

If you need more advice, help with sleep or anything else mindset-related, I'd love to help.

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