10 tips on how to improve your quality of sleep

Having trouble sleeping? When you are not sleeping properly this can wreak havoc with the rest of your life. You become more easily irritated, your concentration is impaired and you maybe dragging yourself through your day.

Sleeplessness can have numerous causes, your lifestyle, social or working environment, your diet, the room in which you sleep, the bed on which you sleep, etc. I personally am a very light sleeper, the slightest disturbance and I’m awake, whether it be one of my children that has woken in the night or a loud noise in the street. Also any issues that may be bothering me, then my sleeping pattern is the first thing that is disturbed.

So what can you do to help you have a restful nights sleep?

Here below are a number of tips that will help improve the quality of your sleep. Of course, based on your lifestyle not all tips may be practical or welcome for that matter. However, if sleeping is a problem for you then it is certainly worth trying.

Eat your last meal at least 4 to 6 hours before going to bed. If you are like most people eating a hot meal in the evening is the norm. If this is the case eating early gives your body sufficient time to digest and therefore will improve your chances of sleeping better. Especially if it is a heavy meal with a mix of proteins & carbohydrates such as a meal with cheese, meat & potatoes. Your body will need something like 6 hours to properly digest it. A healthier alternative is to eat lighter meals in the evening and your heavier meal during the daytime.

Avoid stimulants that interfere with sleep. Alcohol (alcohol may help some people go to sleep, but can interfere with sleep later in the night), sugar, caffeine (coffee, black tea, green tea, chocolate, cola), and nicotine are all stimulants that interfere with sleep. By avoiding or reducing their intake 4 to 6 hours, before sleeping, can help enormously.

Don’t drink too much before sleeping. I’m a bit of a herbal tea lover and have learnt the hard way, drinking too much, too close to my bedtime. By stopping at least an hour before sleeping you reduce the chance of waking in the middle of the night to go to the toilet.
Prepare your body for rest, such as light stretching, taking a walk (strenuous exercise stimulates the body and can be better done at least 3 hours prior to sleeping), meditation, a warm bath or shower, reading or relaxing music. I always have my shower in the evening, mainly because it saves time in the morning with the added benefit of helping me relax before bed. I also have the luxury of being able to dim the lights in our bathroom which also prepare my body for sleep.

Reduce the amount of artificial light prior to sleeping. TV, computer screens are also a source of artificial light which stimulate to keep you awake. If you stop using them an hour before sleeping this can also help in preparation of sleep.
Use natural light to program your sleeping/waking rhythm. Waking with natural light and exposing yourself to natural light during the day can help program your body’s internal clock.

Keep a regular routine. Sleeping at the same time each night also helps regulate your sleeping patterns. Monday mornings are difficult for most people due to the change in sleeping patterns in the weekend. I was always a lover of sleeping in at the weekend. However, since having kids that luxury was no longer possible. Yet a benefit of not sleeping in, is that my sleeping patterns have become more regular and I have way less issues with getting out of bed in the morning, even on Monday’s.

Listen to your body, which means going to be bed when feeling tired. Of course, if you are over stimulated follow the steps to reduce stimulation first, so that you have a more natural rhythm.

Create a comfortable sleeping environment in your bedroom. Your bedroom needs to be cool, dark and well ventilated. Also your bed and pillow need to be comfortable, providing proper support.

Still having problems. If having tried all of these tips and still no improvement then perhaps it is an idea to seek some professional medical advice. You may have a medical condition, such as, sleep apnea in which sufferers temporarily stop breathing during sleep. In cases where there is no medical condition yet you still have trouble sleeping then perhaps holistic approach can help you. I have helped numerous people improve their quality of sleep, particularly people suffering from restless legs syndroom. Please feel free to contact me for further information.

Acceptance

This morning I pulled a tarot card, which I often do if I want more insight/inspiration about a situation. I pulled the king of water (emotions) and this card talks about old wounds coming to the surface for healing. Every now and then we are indeed confronted with old hurts in our daily lives, usually through what someone may have said or done to us or a particular situation in which we find ourselves. This is always an opportunity to release the old wound, however, what generally happens is that we end up getting wounded once more, reliving an reinforcing the original wound.

 

By becoming aware of our wounds and let’s face it, we all have them, this enables us to choose to step out of the vicious circle and not react to things that we normally allow to hurt us. How to do this, we need to step out of the mind and accept. Without the mind there is no wound, there is no one to get hurt.

This card invites us to live in total acceptance which is no easy task. So how about just for the next 24 hours, total acceptance, whatever happens!

Can you imagine going for 24 hours accepting whatever happens to you during that time? No matter what! Of course if only pleasant things happen then no worries that is easy to accept. But, as we all know life is never that easy and sometimes it can seem like an  impossible challenge. As the father of two young children I can tell you that it can sometimes be an enormous challenge to stay calm when they are playing up. Yet when I do manage not to react and let it go, it seems so effortless.

Why not give it a try? On my Facebook page I am posting the event 24 hours of total acceptance. The more the merrier. Here is the link; https://www.facebook.com/events/621539784688288/

Some tips on the road to change

Let’s face it, bringing about change in your life is no easy task. The expression ‘Old habits die hard’ is a confirmation of the fact, yet if you really want to bring about change your old habits will eventually die.

Here are some tips that can help you on the road to change.

The need for change. The first step is being aware of the habit and the fact that it is no longer serving you. There needs to be a real need to want to change, otherwise why bother. Then it becomes a forcing and that never works. You have to want to change.

Where do you want to go? Secondly knowing where you want to go to is also very important, if there is no direction for the new you, how can you possibly find your way. So by visualizing how you want your life to be is a very powerful tool in the creatief process of change.

Pretend as if you are already there. Another wonderful tool is pretending that you are already where you want to be. Fake it before you make it. At some point you will become that which you aspire to.

Nourish yourself.  There is an expression ‘you are what you eat’. This is not only referring to the food you eat, but what you nourish yourself with. For example music is food for the soul, ideas are food for the mind. So Surround yourself with people and things that will nourish and support you.

Practice mildness. Finally and most importantly practice mildness with yourself every step of the way. Change is a bumpy road full of ups and downs and the occasional pot hole. When your down pick yourself up dust yourself off and just keep going.

Is physical pain just a pain in the arse? Here are a few simple steps to help deal with pain

Last weekend there was an article in the “Sir Edmund” from the Volkskrant newspaper referring to a staggering 2.4 million people living in The Netherlands who are suffering from chronic pain.

The problem with pain is that it is painful. However, pain has a very important function, it protects us from hurting ourselves any further. If you put your hand on a hot stove the intense pain ensures that you remove your hand from the danger, thus avoiding further injury. And that is just one of the innumerable pain signals that your body sends, each one providing particular information as to the urgency of the action required to keep you healthy & safe. In the case of muscular pain & tension this is something that many people deal with on a daily basis, yet the urgency is not always present.

So pain is the messenger sent out to help us. To warn you, to keep you in balance, to keep you healthy and to keep you safe. The only problem is is that we want to kill the messenger, with such things as “pain-killers”. Let’s face it pain isn’t pleasant and it is never convenient. But what if, instead of killing the messenger you sat down and listened to the messenger and payed attention to the messenger? Here below are a few steps that can help you better deal with physical pain & tension.

How to deal with & release pain

Step 1 Observing – by sitting down quietly and taking a few minutes to direct your attention to the pain you are experiencing and just simply observing what is present, without judgement and without an agenda or the need to change the situation.

Step 2 Welcoming – once your attention is directed to the pain, try welcoming the pain. As I mentioned pain is there to help you and not to hinder you. It’s your body’s way of saying I need some attention here. So try even to be thankful that your body wants to help. This may take some practise

Step 3 Listening – after welcoming the pain, stay sitting quietly observing the pain. See if you notice any change in what you are feeling. If you are truly listening and not just saying to yourself this is stupid or I’d wish the pain would just go away or what am I doing here, then perhaps you may notice the pain has lightened or shifted. If this is the case then you have successfully communicated with your pain. By doing this regularly you will perhaps notice a change in how you feel and the pain you are experiencing.

These steps above are taken out of a technique which I regularly use with my clients and with great success. If you are interested in learning the full technique then please contact me via info@lloydrobinson.nl Please note that places are very limited as I only work with small groups.

I would love to hear your comments and experience with these steps.