Patricia Boles Counselling & Psychotherapy Queen's Park, High Holborn and Bloomsbury

Sleep tips

A good night’s sleep is a powerful foundation for good mental health, quality of life and work performance, and, particularly during this pandemic, essential for a healthy immune system. If lack of sleep is affecting the way you live and work, and has lasted for over 3 months, I can provide online help for a set of 5 CBT for Insomnia sessions to work with you on sleep hygiene, setting a sleep diary and improving your chances of a good night's sleep. Meanwhile, what can you do to improve sleep?

Watching TV is fine as long as you watch something that’s enjoyable, not something scary, like the news that could make you upset or scared and ramp up your anxiety.

Avoid caffeine after 2 pm. Check the caffeine content in your herbal teas.

Stick to a sleep schedule, even at the weekend. Try to keep to regular times for going to bed and getting up.

Get as much natural light as you can — especially in the morning.

It’s your bedroom, not your office, so keep the phone and screens out of the bedroom. Your bed’s for sleeping in, not for working.

If you can’t sleep, get up and do something relaxing for about 15 minutes until you feel tired.

Create your own pre bedtime ritual, a period to wind down, to stop all work, particularly important when working from home. Take a bath about 2 hours before bed. According to research, that may increase the amount of deep, restorative sleep.

Exercise helps sleep, but don’t exercise in the 2 hours before bed, as this could raise your metabolism and alertness.

Keep worries out of the bedroom. Write down your worries, but also some positive things about your day, in a journal or notebook, out of the bedroom.

If there’s only your bedroom to write worries in, write in a chair, not on your bed. Keep them out of bed!

If you’re having an anxious thought, remind yourself that it’s a thought, not something that will happen. Make yourself aware that you are having an unwanted thought by saying to yourself, "I'm having the thought that….Or "I'm thinking that I …."

Do a progressive muscle relaxation. There are examples online. Learn a simple technique, and try for yourself while lying in bed.

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