I haven’t been a big fan of the wee hours yet strangely enough I have changed my attitude lately. This is normally when I wake up fully alert with a to-do list long enough for a dozen yummy mummies, ideas insane enough to make my small semi-blond head to go wild and with fears disturbing enough to plan ten locks at the front door. How do I quiet the rambling mind? How do I feel at peace, safe and able to snooze back to sleep when the death hours arrive?
We are not alone. Look around at 4 am and you’ll find lights around you. ~10% of us suffer from chronic insomnia, and over 30% of us suffer from occasional poor sleep.
This is what I do and it seems to work.
- Stay calm no-matter-what. Getting angry or frustrated creates a ‘fight-or-flight’ reaction. This means your body releases adrenaline and cortisol that will make it literally impossible to fall back to sleep.
- Write down your to-dos, worries, ideas. Keep The One and Only Notebook next to you. Don’t worry about the ‘lost sleep minutes’ just write down whatever comes to your mind, small or big.
- Say thank you to your mind. Say it! This is serious business. Thank your mind for reminding you about more and less important stuff, new ideas and worries/fears that you have to deal with. Better now than never!
- Then give yourself permission to rest. Key word here is rest. Good rest can measure up to 50% of sleep. Rest is good. When we over-try to sleep, we – ironically – can’t sleep. When you think about ‘just resting’, your mind is tricked to enjoy the moment, which often then leads to sleep.
- Focus your attention to senses. Enjoy silence, soft sheets, morning noises, warmth in the bed, darkness. Breathe slowly and focus on long and peaceful exhale.
- Now, as a final step, try to establish a worry-moment outside the night. Your mind has told you it has too many things to remember and worry. There’s a message and it’s not even hidden. Start you days with a little planning moment and establish a worry-moment (later afternoon or before bed, whatever suits you.) If you can’t sacrifice 15 minutes to sort out your head, you probably need 30 minutes.
Now, go on and test this. Remember: Only practise makes perfect. Results won’t come overnight, so it’s important to have realistic expectations and stay consistent. You need to teach your mind new good habits and ditch the unhealthy ones. And do we just love change? NO! We resist change until we are down on our knees, and only learn new tricks when we repeat them many times. So stay understanding yet decisive. Good results will come, and what’s best they will even stay if you stay persistent. You might even be surprised! Let us know how you are doing!