Do you find yourself waking at night, feeling wide awake and unable to return to sleep? Did you know that approximately half of women and men suffer from insomnia, according to Stats Canada in 2017? I believe that this number is much higher during the pandemic where stress and anxiety have increased for many.
If you are looking for solutions, here are my top 4 tips for managing a night waking so that you can return to sleep more easily at night.
- Get out of bed and move to a different room in the house once 20 minutes have passed. Keep lights low, and do a relaxing activity such as some light reading. Once 20 minutes have passed or you begin to feel sleepy, then return to your bed. Doing this will allow you to associate your bed with a positive place where you can sleep easily, rather than not.
- Practice good sleep hygiene by waking up and going to bed at the same time each day. Have a relaxing bedtime routine most nights without screens at least 1-2 hours before going to bed.
- Decrease stress by controlling what you can. We may not always be able to change our circumstances, but we can move more during the day, keep healthy food on hand and breathe in the fresh air. Making positive changes to your routines will allow you to sleep more easily at night. Work with small actionable steps. Just a few minutes a day can positively impact your sleep.
- Create a list if stress and anxiety are keeping you awake. Write down everything that is on your mind at bedtime, or if you wake at night. Reading the list the next morning can help to improve stress during the night. You will always be able to find a better solution to the problem after a solid night of sleep!
Feeling ready to improve your sleep now? Schedule a complimentary call with me here.
“So do you just sleep perfectly every night?”
I remember my friend asking me this. The truth is, most of the time I do. I am usually researching and helping others who are suffering with extreme sleep deprivation. I see first-hand how it directly impacts their energy, focus, relationships mental health and well-being.
I am also juggling life as everyone does and sometimes that means I have to have a plan to make rest a priority. Here are some of the most common ways that I see my clients fall off track and my tips for keeping sleep a priority.
- I have no time. Sometimes, this statement is true but, is it every single day? Where are the moments of opportunity for rest in your day? A 10-minute break or even taking a lunch break? What about a meditation? There are so many excellent apps to try. Breethe has some that take as little as three minutes to do. You can even listen to it while driving to create more mindfulness. FYI – I never FEEL like meditating, but I do it to take a break and calm my nervous system. Of course, to help me sleep better at night.
- My child’s schedule is too busy. Having a busy activity schedule can mean that the to-do list is left until the end of the day after the kids are in bed. This makes for a really late night.
It is important to find ways to get assistance from a friend or hired help. Perhaps you need answer only five emails, or set a timer for 15 minutes so that you can wrap up work and have time to unwind before bed. Not every night will be perfect, but by making small adjustments and setting limitations you can alleviate a lot of pressure and stress. Then you can have some time to unwind and eliminate those symptoms of insomnia.
- I want to stay up late. Life is meant to be enjoyed, and all work and no play is not the way to enjoy yourself. It is important to have nights out with friends or even watch a movie with your spouse. Our Friday nights are often movie nights before bed providing us with sometime together. Set yourself up for success by aiming for good sleep habits five nights of the week. Then the other “off’ nights will fit more easily into your plan for better sleep. If you are too rigid with your sleep schedule, you may quickly fall off track. You need to see your sleep as something precious and not a hindrance to your life.
Looking for more answers to your most common sleep problems? Schedule a free consultation with me here and start enjoying a perfect night of sleep!
Do you reach for a cup of coffee when you wake up in the morning? Many of us do! Maybe it’s the smell, the first cup you drink that tastes so delicious or the feeling of more energy on Monday morning that you look forward to? There are a variety of reasons that people enjoy coffee and like everything in life, it is fine in moderation for adults to consume. Of course, children must avoid coffee completely. It can negatively affect the quality and quantity of their nutrition by acting as an appetite suppressant.
As a Sleep Specialist I work with individuals everyday to resolve their most challenging sleep problems. I know people are typically only motivated to cut back on their caffeine habit once they have a clear understanding as to why and how it affects their sleep. Here are common reasons.
- Caffeine acts as a stimulant. The one thing that you love about it is the same thing that is often causing or at least contributing to insomnia – at least when you consume too much at the wrong time of day. It can also increase feelings of anxiety or irritability.
- It stays in your system longer than you think. Caffeine stays in your system between 4-6 hours. However, a quarter of that caffeine will stay in your system for as long as 12 hours!
So what can you do to enjoy your cup of coffee and get a good night’s sleep? You don’t have to cancel all of your coffee dates but instead, be mindful of these important tips to keep caffeine in check.
- Make sure to limit caffeine to no more than two 8 oz. cups per day, preferably before 10:00 a.m.
- Cut down on the amount of caffeine that you consume. Instead try decaf, a half cup of coffee, an energizing herbal tea instead such as peppermint, or decaffeinated green tea.
- Replace your coffee with a healthy alternative. Many of us crave caffeine after lunch when our internal clock causes us to naturally feel sleepy. Taking a short walk and getting some fresh air and sunshine can help us feel more alert. Bonus points for taking a 20-minute nap when time permits.
- Watch for hidden caffeine consumption found in cocoa, caffeinated teas, popular energy drinks, and some soft drinks.
Of course, you will also want to make sure that you have a solid sleep routines in place as well if you are faced with sleep challenges so don’t forget to create a peaceful sleep environment, a relaxing bedtime routine and make sure that you aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
Looking for help with kicking the endless cycle of poor sleep night after night? Schedule a complimentary Discovery call here.
It’s nighttime, yet the idea of going to bed sounds more like a nightmare rather than sweet dreams.
Chances are you likely can not fall asleep or stay asleep and are dealing with constant insomnia. These symptoms include:
- Going to bed at a reasonable time, but laying awake for hours.
- Falling asleep easily, but waking up and are unable to fall back to sleep.
- Or the worst yet, not sleeping at all.
Experiencing insomnia is no joke! In fact Stats Canada reported in 2007-2013 that 43% of men and 55% of women between the ages of 18-64 years of age have trouble going to or staying asleep. Based on what we know about the increase in technology, the constant demands to do more in a 24-hour day, we can suspect that these numbers are on the rise.
There are 2 common reasons that insomnia is becoming a major health crisis
1.Technology: Screens emit blue light which directly interferes with our sleepy hormone, melatonin.
Solution: Many of us do not need to reach for a melatonin supplement, but can become more disciplined with turning off our electronics at least 1 hour before bedtime, keeping our phones out of the bedroom and answering only necessary emails . Even if you fall asleep quickly, the disruption to melatonin before bedtime will increase wakefulness throughout the night.
Additional tip! Rediscover a new passion, draw, read a book, a magazine, take a bath or meditate to replace evening television or scrolling social media.
2. Stress: Although stress is a normal part of our lives, it is not meant to be a constant state of being throughout the day. This only increases cortisol levels. The stress response created by the sympathetic nervous system (also known as “fight or flight”) is great for times when we need to be on high alert as it can help you escape any life threatening situation. However, it also increases blood pressure, damages blood vessels, promotes a build up of fat stores and of course, keeps you wide awake at night if not kept in balance.
Solution: Create a 30 minute bedtime routine so that you have time to unwind before going to bed. This will not only help you fall asleep more easily, but it will also help you to stay asleep.
Additional tip! Give your body the time it needs to rest during the day. Take a walk at lunch, meditate for 5 minutes, read a good book, spend time with a phone call, or visit a friend or a family member.
Of course, if you are struggling with sleep, your health, and increasing stress, you are not alone. I would like to chat more about your sleep challenges so that you can be your best self again! I welcome you to schedule a free Discovery call here