Focus on forums: Tips on getting a good night’s sleep
According to a recent survey conducted by Beyond Blue partner A.H. Beard, mental health issues are the single biggest factor affecting the quality of sleep.
More than half of the survey’s respondents reported poor-quality sleep due to issues such as work or financial stress (37%), anxiety (35%), and depression (22%).
Fortunately, there are things you can do to improve your chances of a deep slumber.
Here we turn to Beyond Blue’s online forums, where members of the community share their own tips on how to get a good night’s sleep – a hot topic at any time but particularly at the moment while we’re still living in uncertain times due to COVID-19.
Angienewmum stopped drinking coffee and limits phone use “I’ve stopped drinking coffee again and I'm trying what some people have recommended: lavender spray, natural supplements, running/exercising and sound therapy. I’ve also taken up the recommendation of less phone use.”
Butterfly20 listens to meditations or reads a book before bedtime “Things I find useful: dimming the lights and putting essential oil in a diffuser, combined with a hot cup of tea and listening to meditations/bedtime stories or reading a book. Also, limiting coffee to just one cup in the morning and getting sunlight/fresh air every day for at least 30 minutes seems to help.”
Gambit87 speaks to a psychologist to help ease their anxiety “Getting my anxiety under control (easier said than done I know) really helps. If I’m calm and relaxed, then I sleep a lot better. Since seeking help and speaking to a psychologist my anxiety has been better. I’d also recommend looking into sleep hygiene. Being kind to yourself and forgiving yourself too. My negative thoughts would always go into overdrive when I had a bad night’s sleep, and it would always make me feel worse. Now, when I don't sleep properly, I say to myself: 'So, I had a bad night and that’s OK… today is a new day. I forgive myself and think: ‘I'll just try again tonight.' It’s become a powerful tool because it changes my thought process and I feel better about things. It takes practice but its working for me.”
DedicatedToHealth listens to music “If you don't want to sleep, don't. Forcing it was counterproductive for me. If you want your body to feel like it's sleeping/resting/re-energising, do yoga, meditation, listen to relaxing music, sit outside in the sun, do some deep breathing… basically anything calming. Soon your body will give you signs when you are sleepy, and it may get easier. When this happened for me, I immediately went to bed, it works – mostly. Try to avoid coffee or anything that stimulates you. Some people recommend lavender spray, eating a high carb evening meal, drinking warm milk before bedtime, darkening a room, turning off all noise, putting on white noise, music... do whatever works for you.”
Ggrand devotes time to themselves “Is it possible for you to allocate even one hour to do something you enjoy just for yourself? Most mums forget about their needs once they have children and this can cause burnout.”
Smallwolf says to look into sleep hygiene “My psychiatrist does not like the name ‘sleep hygiene’, but the concept works – at least for me it has. I do the following: no coffee after 4pm, empty my mind before sleep, do something relaxing before bedtime (that helps to empty my mind). I am not a big phone user, unlike my kids, so I did not have the worry about the effects of blue light.”
SH-2600 uses breathing techniques “My routine currently involves reading quietly, dimmed lighting, warm showers, quiet music and guided mindfulness. This is all in the hour leading up to getting into bed. Then breathing techniques. I do read on my iPad or phone for a bit before getting into bed, but I have the light setting on the device set to the warmest possible to limit blue light.”
Antelope9 writes songs “I have never liked journaling as such, but I do love to write songs, and there is generally a flow of creative ideas and lyrics/tunes when I cannot sleep.”
Nictheman does meditation “Meditation has been great for me and I find that it does help with sleep at times. And more importantly, by doing it often (every day or two for the last couple of months) I've learned that you don't need to get frustrated when a day's meditation just isn't working as well as others. It's like running – some days you can clear your mind and get your breathing right, other days nothing works and everything aches. So, hoping to continue that practice and become more attuned.”
Here I am suggests talking to your GP “I cannot recommend getting to a good GP highly enough. Just talking through what is going on is a great starting point.”
For more useful advice read Beyond Blue’s Tips on getting a good night’s sleep article.
The Beyond Blue online forums are a great way to connect with people online in a safe and anonymous environment. Discussion topics cover anxiety, depression, suicide, and a range of other life issues. Anyone in Australia can participate in discussions, connect with others and share their experiences with our community.
Note that all names listed above are pseudonyms and that quotes have been lightly edited for clarity.