I sometimes joke that, if everyone slept well and exercised regularly, I would need to find a different line of work. Trouble is, I believe this. On their first appointment, more than 70% of my clients report not sleeping well. This is about double or triple the national average. If you then add in the folks who don't exercise, the percentage would probably be above 95%.
Lack of sleep contributes to a long list of physical and psychological problems -- anxiety, depression, anger, high blood pressure, obesity, etc. It also elevates the risk of Alzheimer's disease. So sleep is really, really, really important.
No doubt, for many of my clients, there is a vicious circle: lack of sleep makes the problem (anxiety, depression, anger, whatever) worse. The more severe the problem, the harder it is to sleep.
I often coach clients on how to get more and better sleep, with five key strategies (which are outlined below). Sometimes (maybe 10-20 percent of the time), the client returns just two weeks later reporting that their sleep is better, and the reason for seeking counselling is also gone. No more anxiety! Not depressed anymore! Getting along with my spouse much better! For the majority of cases (maybe 50-60%), there is improvement in sleep, and there's definite but not complete improvement in the reason for seeking counselling. There's still more counselling work to do, but the task is considerably easier. Some clients don't do what I suggest, and not surprisingly, there's not much change in the sleep or the counselling issue. Finally, a small percentage of clients have a sleep disorder that requires consultation with an MD.
My experience is that doing all five of the following optimizes your chances for a better night's sleep.
If these strategies don't work, you can talk to your doctor, or find a therapist qualified to do Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for sleeplessness.
Sweet dreams. Let me know if you put this into practice, and what your results are!