In a course I was facilitating, the discussion came around to mental health and wellbeing. The number one constant that was a problem for most people in the room, was lack of quality sleep. All were parents, and like most people, were riding the roller-coaster of life’s challenges while trying to hold it all together. The reasons for not being able to sleep were many, but included, TRAUMA, the LOSS of a loved one, FINANCES, DEPRESSION and a BUSY MIND.

In other words, stressful thinking was a major factor in most of them being unable to sleep at night and for most, they had been struggling with this for a long time. Through trial and error, I’ve come up with some basic techniques that I’ve found helped me.



        1. Try to wind down for at least an hour before turning in and avoid stimulants.
        2. A warm bath, with a relaxing scent can help the body unwind.
        3. A cup of warm milk with a sprinkling of nutmeg seems to help.
        4. A drop of Marjoram Essential Oil on each corner of the pillow case can work wonders, particularly in times of distress or trauma.
        5. Watching your breathing and consciously relaxing your body, starting with the feet and finishing with the head has can be better than counting sheep!
        6. Think of all the people and things in life you can appreciate.
        7. Darkness triggers chemicals which induce sleep. Switch off unnecessary lights.
        8. Try to ensure that the room temperature is comfortable.
        9. Ensure that the bedroom is uncluttered.
        10. Try not to have a television or computer in the bedroom turn of your iPad and mobile.
        11. If you still can’t sleep, make a list of things which are on your mind, write something in a journal – anything that helps you to get stuff out of your head.
        12. Get up and potter for a while. It’s better than tossing and turning and generally you will fall asleep when your return to bed.

Usually a combination of the above actions will help, but if you find that nothing is working, then check with your GP just in case there is an underlying condition which is making it difficult for you to sleep.  A couple of hundred years ago, it was common for the night to be divided into two sessions of sleep. People tended to go to bed earlier, wake up around two and spend an hour or two, reading/writing by candlelight, pottering around, visiting a neighbor or having a light snack and then returning to bed for their second sleep.  Our habits have changed but maybe for some of us, our body clocks haven’t. Check out this article for more information:


Food for thought!


By Martine Murphy   Updated January 2016