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Do you sometimes lie awake for hours with your mind racing?!

Do you sometimes lie awake for hours with your mind racing?!

At the moment my little boy is going through some kind of sleep change/teething or whatever hellish nightmare it seems to be – as a result I have only had two hours’ sleep a night!

Between the episodes of settling him and hearing him grizzle for the first two nights, I lay awake with my mind racing: ‘I have so much to do,’ ‘I need to sleep,’ ‘why won’t he sleep?’ You know the story, hey?! If it isn’t a baby keeping you awake, it’s work, family stuff, money worries, thoughts that there is just too much to do…

Anyway, at 4am on Tuesday after ZERO sleep, I thought to myself: ‘Maybe my frustration with this whole situation and the negative thoughts I am having are keeping me awake (between his crying every hour)’ So, I decided to change my thinking from negative things to listing 100 things I was grateful for. I started…

I am grateful for my comfy bed, my cuppa this morning, the beautiful and amazing friends I have, for FaceTime so I can call my parents…. after about 20 things, I was fast asleep. Woohooo… so much more interesting than counting sheep! I got two hours’ sleep after that – not much, but so much better than none, had I not done it.

I have tried it again and again for the past few nights, it is magic! So, if you struggle to sleep because your mind is racing, give it a go and let me know how you get on.

Only think about listing the things you are grateful for, block everything else out from your mind.

There are, of course, other things which interfere with sleep:

  • Too much caffeine in the day can stop you going into deep, restful sleep at night. Do you have a coffee habit that needs addressing? Read more>>
  • Alcohol before bed will still be going round your system so while you might be able to go to sleep, the quality of your sleep will be poor. Here are some tips for breaking the boozing cycle>>
  • Inadequate exposure to light during the daytime = BAD sleep! You need your eyes to be exposed to light to help your body regulate hormones, which control your mood and sleep. Read more about this in my book,
    Feel Good for Life>>

  • You go through phases of light sleep approximately every 90 minutes, so if you have an alarm with big red numbers, a cat on your bed or a snoring partner, you need to find a solution to stop those things bringing you out of light sleep and waking you up fully. Turn your clock round, put the cat outside, or get yourself an eye-mask and some ear plugs!!

If you know someone who struggles to sleep – please share this post with them, too.

And here’s to hoping we all have a good sleep tonight…… zzzzz.

Love, Claire x


Claire Turnbull, BSc (Hons) Dietetics UK, NZ-registered nutritionist
Managing director of Mission Nutrition
Healthy Food Guide nutritionist


First published: Jun 2015

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