Today I want to tell you about a few things that you need to leave outside of your bedroom to help you sleep better, and to prevent any future sleep problems.
Some of these things are physical items, and some are less obvious, but all will become clear shortly.
The first thing I tell my clients not to take to bed is their devices, in fact any kind of tech. Now I know this is hard – we are all so in the habit of having our phone inches away from our hand all the time.
The problem isn’t necessarily the tech itself, but what the tech means. When we know we can just check our messages and send a quick reply then we get mentally pulled into something other than switching off and sleeping.
If you know this is something that affects you, then the first step is really just acknowledging that you need and deserve your sleep, just like anybody else.
Allow yourself some time offline.
Taking an argument or disagreement to bed leads to a very poor night’s sleep. From the work that I do with my clients, it’s not uncommon for me to hear about couples having their difficult conversations while sitting in bed.
If this is you, I suggest asking your partner to join you in having that conversation in another room, and keeping the bedroom as a place where you can both just rest and relax.
In a previous video I’ve talked about setting up an effective bedtime routine that puts you in the right state of mind for going to sleep. Having a non-negotiable routine will help you to remember that bedtime is not a time for in-depth discussion.
Writing materials, lists and journals
Now I know that you may have come across articles online that say if you wake up in the middle of the night with a racing mind, that writing down your thoughts is a good way to get past that and go back to sleep.
The danger here is forming a habit. Over time you might train yourself that the minute you wake up, you turn on the light and start taking notes. Sometimes waking up is only momentary, and you could fall back to sleep rather than get up and start journaling.
If this is you, then next time you wake up and think about writing, ask yourself if you really need to, or if you could go back to sleep.
Dreams, goals and aspirations
This is something that used to cause me problems back when I suffered with insomnia. I would lie in bed and think about everything that I wanted to achieve, and the result was that I turned my evenings into something negative.
I would focus on whether or not I could achieve my goals, I would start mentally going through all the things I thought I ‘should’ be doing, and therefore I would become even more awake – overthinking when I should be winding down for the night.
How I improved my situation, and what you could do too, is to make time for this earlier in the evening. Plan to think or journal about your goals earlier, but still leave a buffer of time before bed to stop planning and begin to wind down mentally.
Do remember that overcoming sleep problems takes time and persistence, so be gentle with yourself.