How To Get A Good Night’s Sleep

November 17, 2009 by  
Filed under At Home, Health


Everyone occasionally has trouble sleeping, but if it becomes a habit then it a very damaging one for your health. You need a certain level of deep, uninterrupted sleep to help your body do its essential maintenance during the night and if you don’t get it then you definitely will suffer – ask any new mother!

New research has shown that an amazing 64% of us have a bad night’s sleep at least once a wee

k, with nearly one in five of us having sleep problems every night of the week and one in three of us is getting a minimal three to six hours a night. The main reason for sleep difficulties is usually down anxiety and stress and sadly most people put up with it, just lying there hoping to eventually fall asleep.

There are some six simple tips that can help, so let’s see if any of these work for you:

1 Pretend you are a child again and have a regular, enforced, bedtime.

2 Establish another routine in helping you unwind and relax before bed – not watching an adrenalin fuelled movie on tv, but maybe a relaxing bath or quietly meditating to or thinking of what you have to be grateful for that day. It will all help you let go of the stress of the day and be able to relax into sleep.

3 Keep the last hour of the day totally non tech and don’t watch TV, use the computer, mobile phone or iPod. However pleasurable, these will all over stimulate your brain and that’s the last thing you need when you are trying to get to sleep.

4 Make your bedroom a relaxing place that is just where you sleep and not where you keep books or TV or computers.

5 If your worries are keeping you awake, try writing them down before you go to sleep and tell yourself they are taken care of until the morning. Just doing this will help you put anxiety to one side during the night.

6 Spend some time and thought in making your bedroom a really calm, comforting sanctuary. It is your retreat from the world so make it a real pleasure to be in there.

Extra Help

If you still have trouble, before you resort to sleeping pills, do try these natural ways to encourage a good night’s sleep. I use them to combat the effects of the wind and rain which are making me anxious at the moment!

Lavender is very soothing so try having a lavender oil bath, or spray lavender in your bedroom to help you unwind.

Valerian and Hops are two herbs traditionally used to help sleep and there are two herbal remedies from Lane’s you might try. One is called Quiet Life which is particularly helpful if your sleeplessness is due to anxiety and worry and another called Kalms, especially for night time use.

Honey is used in India, just add two teaspoons to a cup of hot water and drink before bedtime.

Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland that helps regulate the body’s biological clock. When your sleep pattern is disturbed then this rhythm is thrown off and supplementing with melatonin may help.

LightSleeper is a new product from a student who used to have terrible sleep problems. It uses the fact that the way the eyes track a book when reading can be soothing and she has mimicked that movement by using a light source instead. LightSleeper projects a light onto the ceiling and it moves in a controlled, circular motion, and it is claimed that following it encourages the mind to relax into a good night’s sleep. I am trying it myself so I will let you know how I get on, but if you want more information go to the website at and you can also find it online at

Cognitive therapy helps insomnia & pain

September 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Health


Sufferers from osteoarthritis often experience sleeplessness and around 60 percent report feeling pain at night due to their condition. Now some new research suggests cognitive behavioural therapy could be an effective way of dealing with the problem.

The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine has reported on a study done at the University of Washington, USA that specifically tested behavioural therapy on patients with arthritis. The majority of the test subjects were female, so it can’t be deemed conclusive for men as well, but the older adults in the study initially reported sleeping 21 minutes longer per night on average and 27 minutes longer a year after treatment.

That might not sound like much, but for anyone who has known the exhaustion of sleep deprivation then any increase is a bonus. Further, the patients also experienced a significant reduction in arthritis pain compared to those in a control group.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a well established method for helping facilitate behavioural change and attitude. For the study the subjects took part in for two months in weekly two-hour group classes led by an experienced clinical psychologist. They were put on a strict schedule of bedtimes and waking times, beginning with the amount of time they were actually sleeping told to lie in bed awake no longer than 15 minutes and to engage in no activities in bed other than sleep and sex. If they began to spend more of their time in bed asleep, their hours of sleep were increased by a maximum of one-half hour each week.

Cognitive restructuring techniques helped participants change unrealistic beliefs and irrational fears regarding sleep or lack of it. They also received relaxation training and instruction about other factors that might affect their sleep, such as getting enough sunlight and exercise and avoiding alcohol and caffeine.

They kept both sleep and pain logs and for the majority in the study there was a definite, and continued, improvement in both these areas. since most of the participants were women.