Too tired to take my own advice

Deborah Watt

LA is eight hours different from the UK.  After I’d been back home a few days, I found that my sleep/wake cycle was still all over the place. I was full of energy when I should have been winding down for bed; and exhausted and unproductive in the morning.

After a few nights of seeing 0300 on the clock by my bed, I belatedly realised that I advise others on this all the time. 

To my clients, I always extol the benefits of sleep, for both physical and mental wellbeing and I regularly provide advice on sleep management during sessions.

So, listening to myself I:

  • Re-established a constructive bed-time routine
  • Deliberately targeted my bedtime between 2200-2300 (I know this allows me enough sleep to wake up refreshed).
  • Started my sleep routine with a cup of camomile tea. This does two things for me: it to signifies to me that I’m getting ready for bed; and it provides a warm soothing drink but without any caffeine that might hijack my sleep.
  • Engaged in pre-sleep activities to help me wind down such as reading, listening to music or mindfulness meditations (not looking at screens to play games or check emails).
  • Deliberately got up when I had been awake for nearly an hour and headed downstairs. I made myself (another) cup of camomile tea and looked out at my garden for a short time before returning to bed. Like my clients, I found this the hardest step (as ‘bed is so cosy … and I’m sure I’ll nod off in a minute’), but it really worked and I was asleep in what felt like no time (once I got back to bed).

Happily, this worked and within a few nights I was back to my old routines and energy levels. Note to self – If I’m providing advice to other people, I really should be following it myself as well!

More tips on improving your sleep can be found at:

http://www.moodjuice.scot.nhs.uk/SleepProblems.asp

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/insomnia/Pages/insomniatips.aspx

… and information about why sleep is important, can be found at:

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/insomnia/Pages/insomniatips.aspx

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