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  • Simple Solutions to Common Sleep Complaints

    March 15, 2024 3 min read

    Simple Solutions to Common Sleep Complaints

    One of the biggest mistakes the people I work with make is they start trying to solve their sleep problem without understanding what the problem actually is, and this can often lead them to spending lots of money on things they don’t need. If, for example, you are struggling to relax before bed then a mattress isn’t likely to be the answer for you.
    The opposite is true, you can use a meditation app until the cows come home, if you have a sore back it probably isn’t going to help. I like people to start with the things we can do that are free or low cost, and below I outline some of my favourites.

    Can’t Get To Sleep

    Owls and Larks

    One of the simplest ways we can improve our ability to fall asleep is to make sure we are going to bed at a time that will allow us to fall asleep in line with our body’s natural rhythm. If you are an Owl, trying to go to bed at 21.30 because you want to get up early to exercise will more than likely mean you are laid in bed for hours on end, tossing and turning. Sleep is not a switch, and if we work with our body’s natural rhythm we fall asleep more easily. To work out what your ideal time for sleep is, start with seeing your sleep type as sitting on a line, between early types (larks) at one end and late types (owls) at the other. Most of us sit on this line somewhere in the middle, with a slight preference one way, or the other. To work your sleep type out, think about those related to you, as sleep type is dictated by our genes. The other thing to think about is how you sleep when you don't have to get up, whether for work or a hobby. If you go on holiday and lay in later, then it may indicate you are more owlish in your rhythm.

    Waking In The Night

    Waking at night

    We often judge sleep problems as being about struggling to get to sleep, when actually I work with far more people who wake in the night and struggle to get back to sleep. An easy thing we can do for this, is to listen to something. Our hearing is our alarm system, switching off later than our other senses, and coming on before them. Listening to something that relaxes us, will help our body drop its heart rate and drift off into sleep. Listen to a spoken word book, especially one you have read before, podcasts that are not too boring, but also not too interesting. Talk radio can help, and for some, music. It doesn’t have to be whale music, or Enya. Music you love and feel connected to, even if it is rave, or heavy metal, can help stop our brains whirring away.


    Being too hot or too cold in bed is a sure fire way to either stop you going to sleep or waking you up. Being too hot, particularly for women, is a common issue I deal with and the place we start when addressing this issue is to have a separate duvet or sheet, if we sleep with a partner. If you are a hot sleeper, your partner’s body heat is going to be coming onto your side of the bed, like the flames of hell , and having a separate sleep environment, with a lighter tog duvet, or bamboo, silk or eucalyptus sheet to let your body breath better.

    Bad Back

    Bad back
    A common complaint - and your back is supposed to recover during sleep. Your spine does not have blood flow, so uses a synovial wash to clear toxins, but if your spine is compressed and your vertebrates are not allowed to separate during the night, the wash cannot occur. A common complaint is lower back and hip pain, and a simple trick you can use is to get a shaped knee pillow to put between your knees. This relieves the pressure on your lower back, spine and hips and allows your body to be in a more neutral position. You can get a decent one from the internet for less than £20.


    Sleep Geek


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