Why do humans love sleep?
We just love sleep. That moment when you crawl into bed and make the ‘ahhhhhhhhhh’ sound. But why? Sleep allows the body and mind to rejuvenate and repair. Sleep plays a crucial role in consolidating our thoughts and memories, enhancing brain/cognitive functions and regulating our mood. And yes, after having a baby I came to understand why sleep deprivation is also a torture technique!
Do you wake up regularly and cannot get back to sleep? We all know that sleep is important for our overall wellbeing, but that fact doesn’t always help us to get enough of it.
What’s the link between coaching and sleep?
As a coach, surprise surprise, sleep comes up quite a lot in my work. Many people struggle with quality sleep and coaching can really help, as it gives you a place where you can iron out all of those complex thoughts and make sense of them, so they don’t pop up again at night. Coaching also provides you with tools to deal with anything bothering you and stop you overthinking. As we become lighter, less burdened and happier, place more focus on our own self development goals, unsurprisingly, sleep starts to come more naturally. However in the meantime…
My Top Ten Sleep Tips:
I created this tips content to help people I am coaching and decided to share it here as well.
Two things to know before you read on: a) these tips don’t work for everyone, <shocker> we are all different! and b) just try one or two changes at a time and give yourself a week or two to try them to see if they are working for you.
Then move on, drop anything that doesn’t work for you and try something else.
- No mobile phone in the bedroom. This is so difficult for people! (Sad times). If you have to have it there, switch it off completely or to airplane mode at least 30-60 minutes before you want to go to sleep. If you say ‘but it’s my alarm’ that’s probably an excuse, buy a cheap alarm clock. Create some rules around phones with the whole family, if you’re a parent, role model this!
- Do you have a routine around bedtime, a set going to bed time and getting up time that you stick to? If not, consider what those times could be and try sticking to them as closely as you can for a short period and review if that helped you.
- Is it quiet, dark and cool in your bedroom? If not, consider what changes you could make. Have you considered earplugs and an eye mask? Game changers, if you can make them work.
- Do not drink any caffeine after 1pm. That includes coke/diet coke! Or trial completely removing it from your diet. It only takes 2 days for caffeine to leave your system. If you start to sleep like a baby and not wake at 4am after 2 days, then you can decide what you want to do about caffeine.
- Have a warm shower or bath before bed.
- Read a physical book before you go to sleep.
- Write in a journal before you go to sleep. ‘3 things you are grateful for’ about the day is a good prompt. Or write down the answer to ‘what do I need to get out of my head before I can have a peaceful and restful night’s sleep?’
- Consider what exercise you can introduce into the week to help you sleep more soundly at night. Introduce one or two things at set times as a trial. Diarise them!
- Avoid high sugar or salt foods, and caffeine/alcohol before bed. Again this can be tough for people but small changes can add up to a big result. Replace with nuts, fruit like bananas or cherries, weetabix or toast.
- If you wake in the middle of the night and don’t feel sleepy despite the above, try the following things:–
– Put a nightlight/headtorch (!) on and read your book.
– Try turning on some calming music or a relaxation app. Personal tip – if you can’t sleep with earphones on, put your phone on airplane mode first, then put the phone under your ear under the pillow it shouldn’t disturb anyone you might share the room with.
– Write down anything circling around your brain on a notebook beside your bed.
– Get up, go and make a hot drink (e.g. warm milk or herbal tea). Read or listen to calming music until you feel sleepy again. No screens!
Good luck. Sleep tight!
As always, if something feels really ‘off’ or unhealthy, and you just aren’t making any progress on your own, consider seeking professional help.
Note: No Chat GPT was used in the making of this article 😉 This article was entirely Human Generated!