We all know that a good night’s sleep is crucial for our physical and mental well-being, especially when you’re dealing with OCD. With anxiety naturally keeping you awake, along with lost time ruminating over intrusive thoughts – sleep seems a long way off. But don’t despair – I’ve got some of my top tips to help you learn to sleep again.
In this article, we’ll explore five practical tips to help improve your sleep, so you can wake up feeling refreshed and ready to face the day, with fewer intrusive thoughts and more inner strength to resist performing compulsions. Don’t worry I’m not going to mention pillow sprays or bedtime routines either…
Tip 1 Calm Down Your Mind in Bed at Night
Do you know how many people hop into bed at night and start worrying about every little thing that happened during the day? And did you know that our nervous system doesn’t know the difference between what you are imagining and what is real? So when we freak out and imagine these terrible scenarios, our body thinks it’s happening for real right now! The accompanying adrenaline rush will then keep us awake longer than we wanted.
That’s why it’s important to calm our minds before hitting the sack. Simple activities like reading a book (nothing too scary), listening to relaxing audiobooks, or trying guided meditation can make a big difference. (BTW I’ve got some great sleep-focused guided meditations that could help ease those racing thoughts if you’re interested.)
And don’t underestimate the power of repeating a mantra over and over again silently in your head until sleep arrives. An example mantra could be “I’m just resting and resting is the first step to sleep.”
Tip 2: Never Look at the Time
Once you feel sleepy and turn off the lights, don’t even think about peeking at the clock. And the same goes for when you wake up in the middle of the night – resist the urge to check the time as well.
Why? Because clock watching only leads to more anxiety, especially when we realise it’s super late and we’re still wide awake. And you know what anxiety equals? Even more awake time! Trust me – ditch that clock or turn your phone face down. You don’t need to know the time – just let your body unwind and drift off into dreamland.
Tip 3: Block out Noise
Invest in a good white noise machine / air purifier / air conditioner or ear plugs if you are having trouble sleeping due to outside noise. The ear plugs will give you control over the level of external noise and the relaxing sound of white noise helps induce sleep too.
Furthermore when you feel in control, this will give you a feeling of rewarding empowerment which will reduce your stress levels, helping you to drift off to sleep more quickly.
Tip 4: Paradoxical Intention
Sometimes sleep feels like it’s playing a game of hide-and-seek, and the more we try to chase after it, the further away it seems to slip. But here’s a great trick. Instead of trying to force yourself to sleep, try relaxing and going with the flow in bed. It might sound weird, but it works.
So instead of thinking, “I must go to sleep” think “Whatever happens, I must NOT go to sleep now,” “I’m determined to stay awake all night,” “I must make every effort to keep my eyes open,” Trust me, it’s like tricking your brain! Keep repeating those phrases silently in your head until you fall asleep.
And you know what? The more you try to stay awake, the more likely sleep will come. So keep at it, stay positive, and before you know it, you’ll be snoozing away. This trick, called paradoxical intention, can really help if you struggle with sleep onset.
Tip 5: Only Attempt Sleep When Can’t Keep Your Eye’s Open
When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, there’s one must I always tell my clients: only turn off the bedroom light when you’re feeling very sleepy, to the point where your eyelids are drooping and fighting to stay open. If you turn off the lights and try to hit the hay when you’re not at that stage, it can create this thing called “sleep pressure.”
And let me tell you, sleep pressure equals more anxiety, which equals staying wide awake and delaying your trip to dreamland even longer. One way I personally get to that sweet spot, is I cozy up with a book and read until my eyelids get so heavy that the words start blurring on the page. It’s a surefire way to bring on sleep.
If you want more strategies to achieve this peaceful state of mind, check out my Tip 1: “Calm Your Mind Down” for inspiration. Remember, getting a good night’s sleep isn’t about forcing it or pretending to be tired. It’s about honouring your body’s natural exhaustion and letting yourself drift off into dreamland when you’re truly ready. So, dim those lights only when sleepiness hits you like a wave, and watch the peaceful Zs come flowing in.
So there you have it! Five easy tips to help you reclaim your sleep and get the restorative rest you deserve. Remember, it’s not about forcing yourself to fall asleep, but rather about creating a relaxed and comfortable environment that will allow your body to naturally drift off when it’s ready. Try implementing these tips one at a time and see what works best for you. And if you’re still struggling with sleep, don’t be afraid to reach out for professional help. You deserve to feel rested and rejuvenated, and with a little effort and patience, you will get there. Sweet dreams!
If you need further assistance in overcoming insomnia reach out to me to hear more about my 1-2-1 hypnosis services where I can help you to transition from sleepless nights to sleeping like a baby. The link to book a discovery call with me is here: Book Call
I’m a clinical hypnotherapist with over 15 years experience, and to date I have helped over 100 clients from Poole, Bournemouth, Southampton, Bath, London, Bristol, the United States, and as far afield as New Zealand in reaching their goals. Regardless of where you reside, I am fully equipped to assist you in the same manner so do get in touch if you need my hypnosis help too. Here is the link to my website www.alexsaxton.com and here is the link to my calendar if you would like to book a consultation www.alexsaxtoncalendar.as.me