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And Sleep... Maria Richards We all need sleep to function adequately and most of us need 6-8 hours every night. If we lose one single night of sleep, we can generally recover within a few days, but long term reduced sleep is just not so easy to conquer. Are you getting a good night's sleep? Well, individual needs for sleep do vary, if you are energetic throughout the day and slowly wind down as you approach your usual bedtime - it's unlikely that you are suffering with sleep deprivation which means that you are getting enough sleep. Whereas sleep deprivation can include signs where there is a daily lack of mental clarity, forgetfulness, sleepiness, and irritability - with mood swings all of which can impact on working life and in personal relationships. The worst thing about this condition would be that often there is no distinct reason for the sleep loss itself. Your bed feels nice, it's quiet, you’re snug and toasty and you don’t actually feel anxious, but for some reason you're just not able to sleep. If not being able to sleep is something that has recently started for you here are 7 general tips that you may find helpful. 7 tips for a better night's sleep: 1. Keep the bedroom for sleep and intimate stuff – no TV, no work, no checking emails or using a PC or tablet. 2. Refrain from exercising too near to bedtime – have at least three clear hours between ending exercise and bedtime. 3. Have a warming bath at least 1 hour before bedtime as this will help raise the core body temperature. Once out of the bath the subsequent drop in core body temperature leads to sleepiness. 4. Go to bed only when you’re sleepy. If at any time you are in bed for more than say 30 minutes without feeling you are about to fall asleep, get up and do something really boring. Don't do anything that the unconscious mind might take as a reward for not sleeping e.g. don’t eat, drink or do anything that you actually enjoy doing during the night. Otherwise your unconscious mind may equate waking with doing something nice, and then it is likely to repeat the pattern on following nights! 5. Only return to bed once you feel sleepy again, making a clear association between bed and sleep. 6. Our bodies have a mechanism that adjusts our sleepiness to the hours of darkness. Ensure that your bedroom is dark at night. 7. Research on two groups of people found that, one group who were in a room smelling of roses had more good dreams than another group subjected to the smell of rotten eggs! You could try a smell that evokes positive memories - which in hypnotherapy we would call a 'positive anchor' to reinforce that bed should be a time to relax and welcome sleep *** Interestingly the blue light spectrum is one of the reasons why it's advisable not to use your laptop or mobile phone in bed before sleep - the blue light spectrum elevates the hormones stimulating wakefulness! What if your issue with Insomnia is becoming prolonged? 32