Anyone who has experienced sleep deprivation knows that insomnia is a nightmare (if you pardon the pun). When we miss hours of precious shut-eye, it can impact our quality of life and our health in a range of ways. Zapped energy, deflated mood, poor concentration, lack of motivation, overwhelm, confusion and dizziness are just a few.
As with any major life change, sleeplessness often goes hand-in-hand with a breakup. Anxiety and sadness can make it harder to nod off. You might wake in the middle of the night with your mind racing, or you might find yourself having over-active dreams, or feeling tired and lethargic in the morning.
Getting a good night’s sleep
We’ve teamed up with Sleep Psychologist Geoff Brearley from Bayside Sleep Health. Geoff has kindly agreed to share some of his wisdom to help you develop healthy sleep patterns, travel effortlessly to the Land of Nod, and wake up feeling refreshed and rearing to go in the morning.
Here are Geoff’s top tips:
1. Routine, routine, routine.
To create a successful sleep pattern, you need routine and regularity. Work out the time you start to feel sleepy in the evening. Then create an “appointment with sleep” to go to bed each night.
During times of crisis like a breakup, it’s easy to throw our body clock out the window. Even still, it’s important to stay on track.
In addition to hitting the hay at the same time each night, we need to get up at the same time each morning to set our body clock for the day (even on weekends). If you find yourself desperate for a long sleep-in on a Saturday or Sunday, it’s probably an indication you’re not getting the sleep you need during the week.
2. Set yourself up for sleep success.
There are a few things you can do to prepare for a good night’s rest before you lie down to sleep. Here are some ideas:
- Write a “what’s on my mind” list. This might include things like “I need to book a dentist appointment”, “I have a meeting with a divorce lawyer in the morning” or “I have a work deadline looming”. Note down anything that’s on your mind as this tells your brain that you’ve got it covered, it’s being dealt with, and there’s no need to wake you up in the middle of the night to think about it.
- Have a relaxing shower about 30 minutes before bed to wash the day away and feel refreshed.
- Turn off all unnecessary lights around the house as you start to prepare for bed.
- Calm the mind with relaxing music or deep breathing. Tell yourself “now is the time to make the most of my sleep time”.
- Drink a cup of warm milk to soothe yourself.
3. When your brain won’t switch off, get up.
If you wake up in the middle of the night feeling anxious or sad about the breakup and can’t get back to sleep, get up and do something dull and non-stimulating. If you’ve been awake for 30 minutes or more, get up for 30 minutes. Turn on a dim light and do something mundane like sort the laundry or read a boring magazine. Then return to bed when you feel sleepy again.
4. Persistence is key
Returning to or creating healthy sleeping habits can take time, and it’s important to practise it each night. As one of the key pillars of health, we need to prioritise our rest. So make sleep your friend, and you’ll be better equipped to face any obstacles and step up to opportunities and adventures.
If you are struggling with ongoing sleep challenges, we recommend seeing a Sleep Psychologist like Geoff. For more information, please visit www.makesleepyourfriend.com
Supporting you with your fresh start.
If you’re ready to get back on track after a breakup, we have the perfect companion to walk with you as you build your new life. Our 10-week online program called “Moving onwards and upwards after separation or divorce” will give you all the insights, tools and templates to work out what’s important to you and where you want to be… and then we’ll guide you to create a workable plan to get there. For more information, please click here.