Sleep-related issues impact on every area of our lives. A poor night's sleep can cause cracks to appear in our relationships; we become irritable, less calm, more prone to feeling vulnerable and can take things far more personally than under normal circumstances. We may become grumpy and increasingly intolerant.
At work our concentration, focus and motivation may well suffer if we've not had a good night's sleep. Research shows that we tend to be more susceptible to accidents and absenteeism. There can be ripple effects in every area of our lives when we're in need of a good night's sleep.
Sometimes it's relatively straightforward to identify the root causes of poor sleep. We might be going through a rough patch, a stressful period in our lives and are unable to calm our mind and relax at bedtime. There may be a health-related issue where disturbed sleep is an unfortunate symptom of the condition. Indeed some medications have side-effects that impact on the quality of our sleep too. Speak with your family doctor about any concerns or questions regarding your health and ask if they can offer some solutions to help you get a better night's sleep.
Let's have a look at some practical things you can do that may help when you need a good night's sleep.
- First, consider if you're sleeping in the best environment for you. When we sleep with someone else it can require some adjustment at first. They may move a lot in bed, want to cuddle or be too toasty warm next to us. All very lovely, but all can require some getting used to. There may be issues with the bedroom being too warm or cool, the mattress being too firm or soft or even our partner being restless, snoring or disturbing us if they keep very different hours.
There's no shame in eventually admitting that sleeping together isn't working long-term for you. Discuss how you'd sleep better if you agreed to separate beds or even separate bedrooms. Your relationship may well benefit from you both having some private time as well as a good night's sleep and you can still cosy up last thing at night, in the mornings or at weekends.
- Are you getting enough exercise? Certain times of the year lend themselves more favourably to getting outside in the fresh air and exercising. Many people are happy to play tennis, football and go for walks when the weather's warm and sunny. But winter can offer crisp cold days when you can wrap up warm and go out with family or friends for a brisk stroll through the countryside, followed by a pub lunch, log fire and a relaxing afternoon or coming home to mugs of hot chocolate or a slowly cooked casserole or stew.
Make fresh air and outdoors exercise an integral part of your week, especially if you typically spend a lot of time indoors with little access to daylight. Enjoy the improvements to your quality of sleep throughout the year. You're investing in your relationships, your ability to manage stress and also your health.
- Are you a perfectionist? Some people don't trust others to get things done as well as them or are reluctant to hand over control for a variety of reasons. But this is a stressful way to manage your life and can slowly lead to others losing the desire or motivation to support you. They may eventually walk away or simply stop offering to help. Nobody benefits.
In a work scenario it's important to train others so that they get better, are more invested in their role and want to help your business grow. This decision frees you to work on your business, not just in it. In a domestic situation family members learn to become more independent by having a go. Learn to manage stress by relaxing the need to do everything your way.
We hear so much about the importance of a good work/life balance. Whilst that can be hard to achieve at times, it's important to be proactive and find time for a good quality of life. We all need things in life that challenge, fulfill and satisfy us, but it's important too to arrange some down time for fun and a few laughs with special people. Nurturing the ability to wind down will often lead to you enjoying a good night's sleep.
Susan Leigh, Altrincham, Cheshire, South Manchester counsellor, hypnotherapist, relationship counsellor, writer & media contributor offers help with relationship issues, stress management, assertiveness and confidence. She works with individual clients, couples and provides corporate workshops and support.
She's author of 3 books, 'Dealing with Stress, Managing its Impact', '101 Days of Inspiration #tipoftheday' and 'Dealing with Death, Coping with the Pain', all on Amazon & with easy to read sections, tips and ideas to help you feel more positive about your life.
To order a copy or for more information, help and free articles visit http://www.lifestyletherapy.net