Do you struggle with intermittent or chronic insomnia? Do you have trouble falling asleep and wake up often during the night? Do you wake up feeling drained and lethargic even though you’ve slept a full 8 hours?
Alleviating these symptoms with medication or other approaches may work temporarily. But they will not get rid of the root cause of poor quality sleep – the real culprit could be your brain!
How you think about sleep may actually be the cause of your problem. Rewiring your brain to think differently is the solution. Try the following tips to boost your sleep and improve the quality of your rest:
- Rewire your brain’s associations to sleep but changing your perception
The way you view sleep can affect your sleep patterns. Do you give sleep the same priority that you give to your mealtimes or exercise routine? For most people, sleep is seen as an unimportant activity. Some people actually perceive sleep as a “necessary evil” and a waste of time. They have no structured bedtime routine or regular bedtime hours, and often s[end late nights working, making do with a few hours of rest.
The bottom line is, you may not be making sleep a priority in your life.
By thinking in this way, you actually train your brain to regard sleep as unimportant and therefore, it ignores signals that you are tired, or does not wire itself to provide you with quality sleep. The solution is:
- Make sleep a core priority
- Always think positively of sleep and regard it as an important activity for healthy living
- Establish a relaxing bedtime routine
- Set fixed bedtime hours and stick to them
Over time, this new way of thinking will tell your brain that you value sleep and regard it as a priority. Your brain will begin to understand that this is something beneficial for you and will rewire itself to give you a good night’s rest. It’s as simple as that!
- Balance your circadian rhythm
The circadian rhythm is simply your sleep/ wake cycle and is regulated by your brain.
Your brain triggers the production of Melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep and keeps your circadian rhythm balanced.
When sleep is not a priority and you don’t have fixed bedtime hours, your brain cannot trigger the production of melatonin properly, and your circadian rhythm becomes unbalanced. This could be one of the main reasons for poor quality sleep.
Balance your circadian rhythm by:
- Avoiding blue light from digital screens in the evening (which disrupt the production of melatonin)
- Avoid fluorescent lighting and use warm, amber-tinted lighting on your home.
- Expose yourself to sunlight for a few minutes during the day.
- Have fixed sleeping and waking hours,
Again, all of this will tell your brain that good quality sleep us important to you and it will rewire itself accordingly
- De-stress your brain regularly
Throughout the day, your brain is constantly processing information through sounds, sights, smells, your da to day activities and interactions with others. An over-stressed brain affects the production of sleep-9nducing melatonin.
De-stress your brain by taking a few minutes throughout the day to do something quiet and relaxing, such as listening to calming music, meditating or taking a nature walk. Just a few minutes of relaxing time-out each day is the most effective way to re-energize your brain.
- Have a relaxing bedtime routine
Teach your brain that sleep is important to you by establishing a relaxing bedtime routine. This could be a warm bath with a few drops f fragrant essential oil, followed by a light snack. It could be reading a book in bed or listening to music. The key is to stick to this routine daily so that your mind can begin to rewire and prepare you for sound sleep.
- Count your blessings
Gratitude is the best way to rewire your brain for positive associations with sleep. As you lie in bed, take a few moments to review your day and reflect on the good things that happened and how grateful you are. Think of all the people in your life you love and appreciate. Finally, appreciate your warm bed, your nice bedroom and how lucky you are to be alive then… sweet dreams!
Shifting your perceptions about sleep can make the difference between tossing and turning all night to sleeping like a baby.
All you need to do is make a conscious effort to think positively about the wonderful benefits of sleep and to make it a core priority. Practice the five steps discussed here and let your brain do the rest – very soon, it will begin to rewire itself to ensure that you get the best quality sleep ever.