Tips to Better Sleep: Why They Aren't Working
Everyone is different and what works for others, may not work for you. A lesson that was hammered home to me with one of my very first clients.
A typical higher flyer, with a high stress job. Never liking to sit still for too long. You know the type. You may be the type.
Fresh out of nutrition coaching school I was keen to show off my knowledge. Not just about nutrition, but about the impact of stress and lack of sleep on her goals and her health.
I threw everything at her. All the tips to sleep better I knew.
Getting to bed earlier and being asleep by 10. Not using any electrical equipment for an hour before bed. Having an hour’s wind down. A hot bath.
And bless her, she tried to comply.
Reading her feedback sheets, it was obvious her sleep had deteriorated. So, the tips and techniques kept coming.
After a couple of months, we met up and, she looked like crap.
What was going so wrong?
I hadn’t remembered the fundamental rule of being a coach…everyone is different.
She was getting to bed before 10, but she was just tossing and turning for hours, thinking about not being able to get to sleep. She knew how important sleep was, and it was worrying her that she couldn’t.
In truth, going to bed too early for her, before she was even tired, was causing her more stress.
Tips to Sleep Better: Learn from My Mistake
So, if you’ve tried umpteen tips to sleep better and they haven’t worked, don’t despair. Instead, notice what is happening when you can’t sleep.
Are you tossing and turning because you’re uncomfortable?
Are you disturbed by noise? A husband snoring? Music from a neighbour?
Are you having trouble shutting your mind down? Events of the day playing over and over again?
Whatever is stopping you get to sleep will be the key to the technique that will help you.
There are very good reasons why experts, and non-experts alike, tout tips of turning off telly’s, computers and iPads an hour before bed. They give off a blue light which tricks your brain into thinking it’s earlier than it is.
There are also very good reasons they suggest changing your mattress, making your room cooler, using blackout blinds, or ear plugs. But if those aren’t the reasons you can’t fall asleep, then they’re not going to help.
Personally, I find having the television on while I’m trying to get to sleep helps distract my mind enough for it to be able to switch off.
My client found that going to bed a bit later allowed her to drift off quicker and gave her more restful sleep.
Working out what keeps you up at night is the key to getting a good night sleep.