According to the UK’s Sleep Council, 30% of us sleep poorly most nights. Be it difficulty getting to sleep, night time waking or poor quality sleep, it’s undeniable that a good night’s sleep makes a difference and that prioritising sleep can offer improvements in all aspects of life. In this article, Stephanie Clarkson, a multi-disciplinary therapist at Thame Therapy Clinic, discusses the importance of sleep and how she uses her specialist therapy expertise to help improve sleep and anxiety in adults and young people.
Scientific research shows connections between sleep and type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, anxiety and burn out. We live in an increasingly fast-paced world, with growing expectation to achieve more at a quicker pace and although we need more rest than ever, many of us are getting less and less.
When deprived of sleep we are less efficient, less motivated and more prone to irritability and low mood. We are more likely to reach for caffeine, sugary foods and refined carbs. Co-ordination and thinking agility are reduced; our performance suffers.
Many things can affect sleep. Irregular hours caused by travelling, shift work or an inconsistent lifestyle can confuse our body’s inner ‘clock’. Stress and anxious thinking habits can peak at night when we are less distracted. Breaks in sleep caused by caring for children, illness, snoring or other distractions can interrupt sleep cycles.
As a hypnotherapist and coach I work with people to build a greater awareness of the lifestyle and thinking habits that can contribute to poor sleep and then make changes to allow for optimum sleep.
If night-time thinking is an issue, it can be worth exploring worries and thinking habits to support a calmer, more confident mind that settles into and eases out of sleep.
We spend a third of our lives in bed, and while most of us are aware of how well we sleep, it’s rare that we consciously manage our sleep or consider how to utilise our waking hours smarter to allow for a better quality of it.
In my coaching work the approach may be practical, focused on time-management, thinking strategies and self care advice. Looking at the mental aspect of sleep can also be useful and can include hypnosis, EFT, mindfulness, meditation and breathing techniques.
So ask yourself, how well does your sleep work for you, and is it time to give your sleep some TLC?