I have never been a good sleeper. Even as a child, after my sister fell asleep I would take my pillow and blanket and lay on the hallway floor and watch television. On my best nights I would lay there for two and a half hours before I fell asleep. On my worst nights it was substantially worse. As I grew older my poor sleep continued to grow more and more out of control. At one point, in my adult life, my sleep was so poor that if you pieced together all the ten-minute sections of sleep I got, it would equate to just about three hours. To say this impacted every area of my life is the greatest understatement of all time. Are you aware of how your body and mind are impacted by sleep loss? Many people are aware that sleep loss causes depression and even accident proneness, but what about the other areas impacted by sleep loss? Here’s a short run down of the impact of sleep loss: Weakened immune response, weight gain, impaired brain function, cognitive dysfunction, high blood pressure, heart disease, destroys sex drive, and is responsible for accidental deaths. The impact of sleeplessness is wide ranging, but I wanted to give you a taste for it.
For those of you who have struggled with getting deep, healing, rejuvenating sleep I would recommend the following immediately: do not use the bed for anything other than sleep and sex. Any other activities done in bed create confusion in your subconscious mind. Remember that 96-98% of habits and behaviors are stored in your subconscious mind. As such if the habit is that when you lay down you are doing anything other than sleep it creates confusion for your subconscious mind. At the end of the day sleep is a habit. My goal is to empower you to change your habit so that you can live the life you have always wanted to.
Here are my sleep suggestions:
- Disconnect: Inside of the television there is a blue tube that is designed to stimulate your brain. The IPAD is capable of depleting all of the melatonin in your brain. I recommend disconnecting all electronics at least a half hour to 45 minutes prior to bed time. Read a book, take a bath, clean the kitchen sink; whatever else we do we must stop stimulating our brains.
- Routine: All sleep experts agree on the validity of a sleep routine. My personal sleep routine is before bed I take my vitamins and supplements, drink a bottle of water, and brush my teeth. My experience is that once you being using a sleep routine the amount of time it takes for you to fall asleep will diminish.
- Self-hypnosis: Once I learned how to use self-hypnosis my sleep substantially improved! If you are not using self-hypnosis I would strongly encourage you to begin. It’s hugely healing and it’s been a game changer for me. While engaging in self hypnosis I typically affirm that I am able to quickly and easily get to a deep level of sleep.
- Gratitude Game: Occasionally I will struggle with achieving sleep quickly. On those occasions when I am struggling with sleep, I play the gratitude game. The way I play it is I think of something to be grateful for that begins with the letters of the alphabet. If by some chance I am still awake by the time I reach the letter Z, then I just do it backwards coming up with different things to be grateful for.
- Deep Breathing: This is such a valid and helpful component; I just couldn’t leave it out. Engaging in deep breathing relaxes the brain and body. Just for a moment do 5 deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth. I would encourage you to do this several times a day.
- Letting go: Many people have developed the habit of reviewing their day once they are in bed. Find a way to release the stress, anxiety, and worry before you ever climb into bed. Methods of letting go of these issues include: journaling, exercising, bathing, walking. Find a way that works for you.
Jenn Bovee, LCSW is a spiritual life coach and psychotherapist. Jenn offers in person therapy as well as distance life coaching. If you would like to learn more about Jenn or her services please check her out here: www.JennBoveeLCSW.com