To have sweet dreams? In my experience, you need to be sleeping well. Are you sleeping well? Are you sleeping enough?
According to the NHS website “Most adults need between 6 and 9 hours of sleep every night” (https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/how) Realistically, I need 8 hours. How many times a week do I get 8 hours? Twice if I’m lucky!
And why? I’m not a parent so I don’t have the challenges that so many of you have with little people needing you. Actually? It was on the list of my reasons why me having children might not be such a good idea! If you talk to my mum and dad? Between me and my brother? They didn’t get a good night’s sleep in 4 years….soz about that parents!!!
Honest truth? I haven’t prioritised it. Working the hours I’ve opted to work in the past as well as fitting in life stuff means the number of sleeping hours I’ve had available, has been squeezed. I used to track my sleep on a fitbit. I won’t forget the incredulity expressed by my colleague once when my tracker said I got an average of 4 hours……she asked me how I functioned! I just….did. The body is amazing. However, in recent years, particularly since understanding that I’ve stressed and under-slept myself to perimenopause? I am very aware that it won’t let me treat it as badly as I have in the past and at certain points in the month? I literally have no energy and struggle to get out of bed.
It’s not just that though. The conditions of my room make a difference (staying in hotels with work now is a real consternation), how stressed I am, what I’ve been doing in the evening, the point in my cycle, anything I’m worried about….all play their part in whether I enjoy a restful night.
I invite you to get curious on what impacts you because it’s likely you can do something about it.
Here’s what I’ve found really helps me:
1. Create the physical space that’s right for you, in terms of temperature, darkness and quiet. For me, I need it to be dark, quiet and not too cold. A lighter tog duvet for the summer has been brilliant!
2. Create the space to ensure you get the sleep you need. Speak to your nearest and dearest and explain what you need and why you need it. In my case? They’ll know how horrible I am if I don’t get the right amount of sleep and we’ll all suffer otherwise!
3. Wind down – brushing my teeth, taking my make up off and all the other things I faff about with means I do that earlier in the evening so I don’t wake myself up with my bathroom routine too close to bed! Instead, reading or some yoga are better options immediately before bedtime!
4. Ditch the tech – 2020 and the Zoom culture that ensued played havoc with my sleep pattern. Think about how you can reduce your blue light time
5. Aromatherapy – choose a relaxing sleep mist and temple balm to soothe the senses. I love Tropic; spray the pillow mist, massage in the temple balm, lay down and breathe slowly and deeply (https://tropicskincare.com/products/dream-team)
6. Meditate – I use the Insight timer app as it has all types of guided meditations to lead you to slumber (https://insighttimer.com/ )
7. Night Time Journaling – reflect on what you are grateful for from your day and what you want from your day ahead.
8. Talk to someone - If you are stressed or worried about something that keeps you awake at night. Opening up isn’t always but find the person with whom you can be yourself and who will listen and hear you. Partner, friend, coach, mentor, colleague or boss. A problem or worry shared really can halve it or eliminate it.
Del Boy told Rodney that “Sleep is for wimps” in Only Fools and Horses. Sorry Del – I really can’t agree. I can do without many things but sleep isn’t one of them.
Sweet dreams x