Sleep is the best meditation
We’ve all been there – the restless night where it feels like you haven’t slept very much at all. If you was lucky you got an hour or two. They’re a real bummer, and they leave you feeling completely drained the next day. There’s nothing worse than that groggy feeling of being barely awake yet you can’t seem to shut your mind down for more than a few seconds so you can actually sleep.
People with mental health issues often struggle with lack of sleep, and personally it’s the overthinking that often keeps me awake. I just lay there thinking about everything I’ve said that day and how I could have said it differently. I think of all the things I’ve been through in the past and how things could be oh so different. I think about everything I shouldn’t, and when I’m trying to sleep is so often when the bad thoughts come flooding towards me like I’m some animal on Noah’s ark, desperately trying to stay afloat in the sea of my negative thoughts.
There are ways of improving your sleep, and as technology has been advancing recently it’s become easier to do small things that can make a huge difference. Now I don’t know about you, but I’m a bit addicted when it comes to my phone. I see my phone and I just lay on it a lot a night unless I’m with company. The blue light emitted from phones and other technology is now well known to keep you awake at night and reduce the likelihood of you having a good nights sleep. One thing that I’ve found helps me is to have the blue light filter switched on during hours of darkness, enabling me to get a better nights sleep. The latest version of iOS has the feature built in, as do the latest android phones. If your phone doesn’t have a blue light filter built in then you can download apps that do the same thing. Windows 10 also comes with a blue light filter which you can trigger when you want to protect your eyes from those energising blue tones of light, so if you’re like me and you stay awake writing on your laptop then you can have access to this function and you’ll thank your technology later for the little helping hand.
If you’re on any medication then make sure you take it when you should. If your medication is designed to give you energy then taking it just before bed probably isn’t the best of ideas. Likewise, if your medication states it will make you drowsy then your best bet is likely to take it half an hour or so before bed so you can get that little nudge into peaceful slumber.
I’ve found that reading or listening to relaxing music right before bed can assist me in getting a good nights rest. Other people are different, but I personally dislike getting to sleep in total silence – and I think this is because the (quiet) sounds distract me from my overthinking and they stop my mind from racing. Give it a try and see if this works for you, let me know how you get on!
Blocking your clock is another good technique when it comes to attempting to get a better night of kip. The endless clock watching and saying to yourself how “if I sleep now I’ll have a full 7 hours of sleep” doesn’t help your body in falling asleep. Don’t watch the clock and instead focus on relaxing, winding down and getting some sleep.
These are only a few tips, and they’re tips that have helped me a lot when it came to improving my sleep. I now sleep better than ever (though I do take a sleeping tablet at night as prescribed by my doctor, but this didn’t help much at first due to having poor sleep hygiene – yes, that’s a thing).
Let me know if any of these help you, and if they don’t but you have other tips to share then tweet them to @MindsTorment.