The Secret of sleeping well

NLP techniques

The Secret of sleeping well is closely allied to a peaceful mind.  When I was a young man I played squash.  Squash was an extremely popular game in our locality in those days and it was often difficult to book a court. 

But if you were prepared to wait until 10 or 1030 at night the court was often quiet, so my friends and I would play our practice and league games as late as possible.

A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow

Charlotte Bronte

I didn’t understand then why I couldn’t go home and fall asleep straightaway after all that exercise.  

Although my body was tired, however, my mind was very alert, constantly on the watch for that tiny ball as it hurtled around the court with me in pursuit.

There was a time when I worked in the British Parliament recording the debates in shorthand for Hansard (the official parliamentary record).  

Again the House would often sit into the night debating important issues.  There was an excitement to it, listening to the passionate speeches of the great political figures of the day, and observing their political manoeuvring, but it didn’t help me get to sleep at night;  quite the contrary.  

When I got back I always had to do something that completely relaxed me before climbing into bed.  May I suggest you read about getting off to sleep before you go further.

The Secret of sleeping well - Are you tired when you go to bed?

Do you go to bed regularly at the same time each night or do you stay up until you feel tired?  

I don’t mind betting that if you are having difficulty with your sleep you go to bed regularly at the same time each night.  

There is nothing actually wrong with doing that – we often do it to fit in with our partner – but if you are not really tired it isn’t going to be so easy to sleep. 

So if you are in a period where you are having difficulty getting off to sleep, try staying up until you feel tired.  You may need to stay up an extra hour or even more. 

During that time do something relaxing like listening to peaceful music or meditating.  When you feel tired go to bed. 

Do the same for the next couple of nights until you get off to sleep quickly and sleep soundly.  

Then, once your sleep has settled down, try going to bed twenty minutes or a half-an-hour earlier each night until you get back to the time you like to go to bed.  

You may have to play around with the times a little until your sleep settles down.


Temperature is critical to your sleep.  A degree too hot or too cold may prevent you from sleeping.  If you living in a cold climate (or at cold times of the year) be sure to have warm bedding. 

If you live in a hot climate (or at hot times of the year) ensure that you room is properly ventilated and you are not too hot. 

You might also need to experiment with what you wear in bed.  If you are used to wearing nothing or very little, during chilly times it might be advisable to pop on a pair of pyjamas or vice versa during hot weather.

The Secret of sleeping well - Do you nap regularly?

If you are someone who takes a daytime nap but you can’t get off to sleep, or you have broken sleep, the time has come to cut out the nap. 

It will be a little difficult at first and will take some willpower, but you have been giving yourself a boost of energy that is affecting your ability to sleep, and you need to rearrange your schedule a little. 

If you can’t sleep at night, that should be the first thing to go (painful as it may be)!

The Secret of sleeping well - Waking at night

When you wake at night do you thrash around and become increasingly frustrated, unable to get back to sleep?  If you do find yourself in that state of mind, I suggest you give it up. 

I tried it and it doesn’t work.  It just makes you extremely agitated and when the morning comes you are tired and grumpy.

The Secret of sleeping well - an exercise

First off, adjust your bedding, puff up your pillow and relax.  Take a deep breath in through your nose and let it out slowly through your mouth.  Now do it a couple more times.

Clench your fists and then relax them.  Scrunch up your toes and the muscles in your feet and relax them.  Tighten the muscles in your calves and then relax them. 

Pull in your abdominal muscles and then relax them.  Bite your teeth together and then relax your jaw. Tighten your buttocks and relax them. 

There is no particular order to this.  Just tighten every muscle group in your body that you can think of and then relax them.

When you have done that, again breathe in deeply through the nose and let it out through the mouth twice more.  

Allow your mind to quieten.  Imagine your most favourite, tranquil spot and transport yourself there mentally.  

You may see yourself on a picturesque beach and feel the warmth of the sun or the gentle breeze.  

Or maybe you are drifting alone on a boat on a gently rolling river.  If there are any distracting sounds, push them off into the distance.

This may well be enough to send you to sleep.  If you are still awake, do not fret about trying to sleep. 

Know that you need to rest and while you are lying there gently thinking pleasant thoughts and beautiful scenes, your body is resting even though you are not yet sleeping soundly.  And keep practising.

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