Anjula Mutanda knows all the secrets of a great night’s sleep. We turned to the leading British psychologist whose recent three-part TV series on More 4 in the UK, The Secrets of Sleep examined why so many of us have problems dozing off at night, and we asked what she believes is behind this widespread sleeplessness and what we can do about it.
There’s nothing worse than a bad night’s sleep, and one of the most frequent problems that our clients tell us is an issue for them is either staying asleep at night, or getting to sleep in the first place. And, it’s not a surprise – scientists have found that nearly a third of the population suffer from sleep-related issues, which in turn can lead to a number of health problems, including depression and anxiety, as well as severely denting productivity.
So? What did Anjula tell us is the secret to getting that all-important shut eye?
“A lot of us are really anxious and stressed and that is often what causes problems with sleep,” Anjula tells Lumity. “If we are stressed during the day then have these background worries in our minds; whether it’s about money, or relationship issues, or problems at work, they’re then keeping us awake at night.
“A lot of people feel overwhelmed and as if they’re not coping with everything that’s on their plates, but are too embarrassed to ask for help.”
There are ways to fix this though Anjula explains: “Recognise that you need help,” the expert, who has been dishing out advice on British television since 2003, underlines. “If you notice that you’re suddenly losing your temper a lot more often, or having random outbursts of road rage for example, don’t keep plodding on as if nothing is wrong. Instead, take a step back and truly examine your life as a whole. Sit down and have a few moments where you honestly ask yourself, ‘what can I not cope with in my life?’… Jot it all down on a piece of paper. For example, if it’s problems with money, ask, ‘can I go to the bank for help, or would sticking to a budget make things easier?’. Think of practical ways that can make your life less stressful.”
Next, Mutanda says that asking for help is key: “If you need more support then ask for it. Perhaps the children are driving you crazy – think who can you can rely on and ask them to babysit and help out.
“Surround yourself with a coping network: By that I mean only spend time with friends and relatives who won’t drain and exhaust you and will instead be supportive.”
And, a healthy body leads to a healthy mind Anjula underlines: “Try to make time in your day for some gentle exercise. Go for walks, or go to the local pool for a swim. It can all be very simple stuff, but make looking after yourself and self-care a priority. Eat well, rather than stress-eating things like chocolate that will then keep you awake at night. If you exercise and eat well and focus on fixing as many of the things that stress you out then you will sleep better.”
Finally, Anjula says: “If it’s all too much then never be afraid to seek professional help. Sometimes sitting down and talking things through with an expert can be all it takes.”
If you’re having trouble sleeping watch Anjula Mutanda’s show or take a peek at our guide with more tips to help you enjoy a lovely night’s sleep. Have you considered that inflammation might be keeping you awake at night?
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