Mind Matters March 2019

Winters Natures Sleep

The middle of February now upon us as the evenings become a little lighter and the snowdrops begin to lift their weary little heads to the sun, the hope that spring is getting near. I feel there really is a feeling of the tiredness and darkness lifting, which the winter has brought to me. 
The romance of winter evenings depicted as snuggled by a roaring fire is suddenly brought in to the harsh reality of keeping safe and warm as I scrape my windscreen. 

For me, it is at times a struggle, not to slip in to the winters bad physical habits including that feeling of 'can't be bothered.....'  or that winter circle of: getting up, going to work, coming home, eating dinner, watching TV........and the evenings just slip away.  
In the winter months I want more sleep and my physical body can feel sluggish. I believe I could quite happily hibernate until the spring has well and truly sprung! During the winter months my appetite increases to that of a growing teenager, rather than a fully grown middle aged woman. I allow myself to listen to my body so it will receive the 'extra fuel' it needs this time of year and I know that this does help eliminate a lot of the tiredness. Look at the farmlands in winter which are allowed to sleep, breathe and replenish ready for the spring. So at this time of year my advice to anyone would be 'Be kind to yourself. Get plenty of sleep, eat healthily and any thoughts of diets leave until the spring!.'

Anxiety and stress in the mind can become an issue in the winter months causing active thinking especially when its time for sleep. Artificial light is increased at this time of year and this helps to wake up the mind at a time of day when it should begin to wind down. The use of TV, computers, phones and tablets all increase this idea in the mind that it should be time to wake up and get active. Years ago my routine was to sit down in front of the television and just let the evenings slip away. I would stay up and catch the 10 o/clock news before bed then I would wonder why I was struggling to get a good nights sleep. Not realising that the content of program I was choosing to fill my mind with just before bed would not help me to relax but actually increase my level of anxiety. What you feed your mind manifests in to your thoughts and through thinking we create emotional responses which we physically feel.
So evenings should be time to relax and wind down stepping back from all the pressures that the day has brought. Having evening time with no television and perhaps playing some relaxing music instead. I know from my own experience that by allowing my evenings to be a time to relax quality sleep now comes naturally.
Be kind to your mind! Its the only one you have. It cannot be replaced but bad routines can be replaced by good ones! You may want to try one or two of the following tips to help you relax before bed.

  • Use soft lighting in the rooms you are relaxing in 
  • Phones, computers and iPad switch off by 8pm 
  • Turn off TV at least one hour before bed
  • For at least 3 consecutive nights try having no TV or News programs
  • Remove TV, phones, computers or tablets from the bedroom 
  • Have a bath or shower before bed 
  • Warm your bed before you get into it with either a electric blanket or hot water bottle
  • When sharing a bed try using two single duvets. This allows a choice of a thicker/thinner duvet and also stops waking in the night if your partner moves and takes the duvet with them!

Sleep well!