The Insomnia epidemic is getting us down - and rightly so - but being well-informed is key to beating it. Here’s a few things I’ve noticed people report their doing wrong about their sleep behaviours:

  1. Starving Ourselves

    Yes. It's true, eating a big meal before bed increases your metabolic rate and subsequently interferes with attaining deep sleep. But, if you've ever woken up with the midnight munchies because you've skipped dinner altogether, the hunger pangs can be just as disruptive to your sleep cycle. Its best to eat a light meal no less than two hours before you plan to sleep rich in magnesium, tryptophan, and serotonin such as cheese, mackerel, turkey, cherries, and nuts which all cascade toward melatonin production.

  2. Rushing to Bed

    After a long stressful day, it can be all too easy to collapse into bed. However, we need to coax the sleep hormone, melatonin into activity gently is we want to get good sleep. We need to dial down out interaction with the environment at least one hour before bed. Turn down the lights, sit in the garden, or take a long bath to help wind your mind and body down for the night.

  3. Getting Up and "DOing" Something

    If you're wrestling with the pillow and frustrated with your busy-bed-head then getting up to "not waste time and accomplish something" is counterintuitive. It's likely that you haven't given yourself enough time and space to wind down for the night and you aren't ready to rest. Make the highly effective habit of cultivating a sleep ritual. Instead of tossing and turning, get up and go somewhere quiet, keep the lights low, and do something that relaxes you like reading a book, or poetry, or listen to a sleep meditation, or listen to an audio bedtime story while resting your eyes.

    Cultivating the art of doing nothing is the best thing you can do for a restful night's sleep.

  4. Tolerating the Dreaded ‘Snorer’

    Discomfort, light and noise are all enemies of sleep. If you have a partner that snores you can lose up to 6 years of sleep in your lifetime. While your partner may be getting deep sleep, you are suffering which may contribute to feelings of frustration and resentment towards your other half. Don't be afraid to broach the subject and present anti-snore devices such as the VitalSleep or The Good Morning Snore Solution.

  5. Labelling Yourself as a "Bad" Sleeper

    We are all different in our unique ways. Our sleep needs vary as to our Chronotype. When you give yourself the 'bad sleeper' identity, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and you subconsciously behave in ways that support that belief. It may not, in fact, be that you are a bad sleeper but rather you have a different Chronotype. Take the sleep quiz to find out what sleep animal you are; you can be more reflective about adjusting you sleep hygiene behaviours that better suit your genetic predisposition.

  6. Withdrawing Into to Your Cave

    Isolation contributes to low mood and insomnia. Even if you are tired and grumpy when you get in from work try just having a cuddle in bed with your partner even if you aren't up to any other intimacy. The human touch from a loved-one released the hormone Oxytocin which not only makes you feel close and satisfied in your relationship but also releases tension and stress making you feel relaxed enough to fall asleep.

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