Sleep Without the Stress With Nick Littlehales
Anxiety, Depression, Happiness, Health & Diet, Stress, Success & Wellbeing

Sleep Without the Stress With Nick Littlehales

‘Elite Sports Sleep Coach’ to the sporting superstars Nick Littlehales changed the way we look at sleeping and napping.

We spoke about:

  • The importance of not trying to get the perfect night’s sleep.
  • Why everyone needs someone to talk to.
  • Napping doesn’t mean sleeping.
  • Coping with technology and modern day living.
  • Why good sleep starts with your mindset.
  • Why getting outside is essential.

Get the Lumie lamp mentioned here

The app mentioned is LUX Lightmeter.


 

 

Anxiety Rebalance
Morning Anxiety - Make Mornings Better
Anxiety, Depression, Fear, Happiness, Health & Diet, Health Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Social Anxiety, Stress, Success & Wellbeing, Work-life Balance

Morning Anxiety: Make Mornings Better

Is there anything worse than being hit with anxiety as soon as you wake up? What can you do to wake up calmer, happier and less anxious?

It feels like that churning feeling in the pit of your stomach is there waiting for you as soon as your eyes open in the morning, followed closely by the instant ‘what if…?’ negative type thoughts that set off a chain of more anxiety-inducing thoughts.

‘What if that email didn’t come through?’

‘Have I paid that water bill?’

‘I can’t send Jamie to school with that hole in his shoe.’

The outcome: bags of morning anxiety and instant stress.

I’m going to be honest from the outset and tell you that morning anxiety isn’t something you can fix overnight.

The reason we wake up and feel instantly anxious is a build up of things that have been going on in our lives for a while.

If you’ve not slept well for a while, you can’t expect to fix that overnight. If you hate your job, you can’t expect to change that in a day. If money is tight, it’s unlikely the money fairy is stopping by anything soon.

But, with all this said, you can start to immediately improve things, including how you feel when you first wake up.

Right now, you can make a conscious decision to do something different when you wake up tomorrow morning. If you do that, you can start to make the changes you’re looking for.

Here are seven handy and simple tips to help you make your mornings better and less anxious.

Give yourself time

Feeling rushed and frantic is marvellous for upping your anxiety levels. If you want to get those anxiety levels down to a better place of balance, you need to give yourself time – so you feel less rushed and frantic. If you set your alarm for 7am, and you’ve got to be out of the house by 7.30am, is 30 minutes enough time to complete your morning routine? If it is and you’ve perfected it down to the minute, I’ll suggest to you that it’s not enough time if you still feel anxious. Set your alarm a little earlier, and give yourself some more breathing space. How you start your day usually dictates the rest of it.

Snooze you lose

Snoozing and staying in bed is just prolonging the pain. Why? Because when you’re sleeping you’re not taking action. It’s as bad as sweeping your problems under the carpet. The problems don’t go away – they grow under that carpet and get worse. Ultimately, there is only one thing that is going to ease your morning anxiety: Taking action. Action is the one thing that will help you overcome any form of anxiety – morning anxiety included. Know that when you stay in bed, nothing is changing. Be prepared to get up and take action.

Up your energy

If you’re feeling extra frisky, jump up straight out of bed as soon as you wake up. Start stretching your body out. Even better, do some exercises, like push-ups and star jumps. This might sound crazy and like it just won’t happen, but if you want to feel radically different in the morning, you’ve got to do something radically different. Even if you do it for 30 seconds, it could make all the difference. We’re talking about realigning your focus here. By doing this, you could ‘forget’ to be anxious – and that will set you on a different course.

Put your phone down!

The alarm on your phone goes off, and if you don’t hit the snooze button and roll over to go back to sleep, you’re straight on your phone checking your social media or news feed. News is generally news because it’s bad news, and social media is proven to increase your anxiety. If you’re doing these things as soon as your eyes open, there are no prizes for guessing what you’ll get in return. (Remember what we said about how you start your day?)

Prepare the night before

How you feel when you wake up is directly affected by yesterday, the day before, and the day before that. Don’t worry about the big stuff for now – just focus on the small step you can take. One of those small steps is to prepare the night before. If you know you’ve got stuff coming up for work, school, or whatever, prepare for it the night before. Get your bag ready. Get your clothes ready. Without getting too OCD about it, do what you can to prepare for the next day. Your brain likes routine, and setting yourself up by getting rid of the unknown will drop those anxiety levels in the morning.

Swap the caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant that will fuel your anxiety. If you’re using caffeine to keep you awake, you’re also indirectly using it to make your anxiety worse. Swap your tea and coffee for decaf options or herbal teas, like Green Tea and Chamomile Tea.

Get a better sleeping pattern

The reason I used to wake up feeling like a zombie had a lot to do with me only getting a few hours of sleep (if I were lucky). Getting your sleep pattern right is one of the most difficult things you can do, but if you can start to improve it, even just a little bit, it will go a hell of a long way towards you feeling less anxious in the morning. There are some myths when it comes to getting better sleep, and you’re best to check out my interview with Stephanie Romiszewski (Channel 4’s sleep expert) to get you going in the right direction.

Stay patient and give yourself time. Keep taking action, and with each small step, know that your mornings will continue to get better.

Here’s to calmer, happier, less anxious mornings!

Anxiety Rebalance
3 Big Myths About Sleep, Insomnia And Anxiety
Anxiety, Depression, Fear, Happiness, Health & Diet, Health Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Stress, Success & Wellbeing, Work-life Balance

3 Big Myths About Sleep, Insomnia And Anxiety | Stephanie Romiszewski

Channel 4’s The Secrets of Sleep expert and leading Sleep Physiologist, Stephanie Romiszewski, gave us some big insights into sleep problems and insomnia related to anxiety.

Stephanie is a rebel.

You have to admire anyone who is willing to take a big subject, like sleep, and challenge the status quo.

Sleep, like anxiety, is one of those things where lots of people have lots of different opinions. One ‘expert’ will tell you something different to another ‘expert’.

What I liked about Stephanie’s approach is how open she is to all methods and solutions for sleep problems and insomnia, but rather than just blindly practising those methods (like most other ‘experts’ do), she is keen to add a new approach.

By having a new approach, Stephanie is breaking some of the myths around sleep problems (including anxiety-related insomnia) and giving us some real solutions we can work with.

Here are the top three myths about sleep problems, insomnia and anxiety we uncovered.

Myth #1: Relaxation and sleep are connected

When we think of sleeping, we think of relaxing. The two things naturally go together. But they’re not actually connected. I know, crazy, right!

When I asked Stephanie if she recommended any sleep apps, including sleep trackers, she said no, not really. Why? Because there is no research to suggest that relaxation will help you get to sleep.

We should be aiming to relax in the day, rather than when we go to bed at night.

If you want to use apps and methods to help you deal with stress and anxiety, they’re more useful in the day than at night. And when you think about it, it makes sense. How you start your day sets the tone for the rest of the day. If you start your day feeling relaxed by controlling your anxiety and stress from the get-go, your day will continue in the same fashion, and you’ll go to bed feeling the same way.

That will put you in a much better position to sleep well, rather than try to force relaxation when it’s sleepy time.

Myth #2: The time you go to bed is more important than the time you wake up

The media have done a great job at scaremongering us into thinking we need to go to bed at the same sensible time every night, which is why most of us hit the pillow and don’t feel sleepy.

I don’t know about you, but I hate going to bed and feeling pressurised to sleep when I don’t feel tired. Sometimes, it almost feels like I’m forcing myself to get those eight hours.

Going to bed at the same time every night is not the key to good, consistent sleep. It’s the time you get up in the morning that is more important!

Stephanie suggests that the best time to go to bed is when you’re ‘sleepy tired’ – when you’re literally nodding off in your chair. If you do that and wake up at the same time every day, that will build up enough ‘awake time’ to get a good consistent pattern of sleep.

The key to making this work is getting up at the same time, every day.

Myth #3: Sleep deprivation is the same as insomnia

I can relate to this, big style!

Feeling fatigued (like crap) is a common symptom of anxiety and stress. The overthinking and worry zaps your energy, so you feel like a zombie.

When anxiety was crippling me, all I wanted to do was sleep all day. And I did. Some days I’d sleep for sixteen hours straight. That’s why on the Rebalance Scale in Anxiety Rebalance, sleep is at the bottom of the scale – because it represents low mood (depression) and low energy.

On the flipside of that, I also went through long periods of sleep deprivation. At the time, if you’d have asked me why I looked like a drooling zombie, I’d have said it was down to insomnia. But it wasn’t. I was sleep deprived, and that is a different thing.

Where I went wrong is I didn’t get the pattern right. I was either sleeping too much or too little. I had no routine or benchmark to set a better pattern.

 

 

The conclusion and action to take.

If anxiety is preventing you from going to sleep, try going to bed when you feel ‘sleepy tired’ – when your head is nodding. It doesn’t matter what time it is, go to bed then. The trick to making this work is getting up at the same time every day. Set your alarm and don’t sleep past it, no matter how tired you feel when you wake up. That will build up enough ‘awake time’, and if you stay patient and do this consistently enough, you’ll eventually sort out your sleeping pattern.

You might feel tired and drained in the day, but if you can get through that pain barrier, you’ll want to sleep at night. You’ll get a decent night’s sleep and getting up in the morning won’t be the heavy task it was before.

Anxiety Rebalance