This note is about a very important topic.
It’s about You and Your sleep. ?
It seems that lots of us aren’t sleeping well, let alone resting enough. “Resting” while binge watching your favorite show on Netflix or infini-scrolling social media feeds doesn’t count.
Most of us are chronically sleep-deprived or experience poor-quality sleep. Even me! It seems no-one is immune to this pandemic of restlessness.
The causes vary widely. Our brains crave certainty and when uncertainty abounds like it does today, we experience overwhelm and anxiety. The first thing that takes the hit is our sleep which effects our ability to focus. That lack of focus just adds to the cycle by brining more anxiety…. Rinse and repeat!
Add in a non-neurotypical brain to this equation and you’ve got the perfect gambit to super charge the whole lot. For example, a sleep-deprived ADHD brain won’t be able to muster the energy for the coping behaviors it’s developed to function in the world which can all cascade into a full on, depression fueled shutdown.
Sleep deprivation doesn’t just effect your brain. Sleep is when the body repairs itself, and without it, healing and regeneration are seriously compromised. This is something I have first-hand knowledge of. After a year of medical treatments, my body is slow to heal. It’s done well thus far, however, I know that the only way to get through my next surgeries, is to rest.
After several messages received this weekend on this topic, I feel that it’s time to remind you of both the importance of good sleep and good rest.
How much should we sleep?
Eight hours or more within every twenty four hour period and nothing less is now the rule.
You can’t ever catch up either unfortunately by sleeping all day on Sunday. We don’t have a sleep bank that accepts “top-up” deposits.
If you google around for sleep hygiene, you’ll find an endless list of articles on the subject that all mainly say the same things… So if there’s consensus on this why aren’t we all sleeping like babies every night?
… Because we’re all different and the science of our brains, though evolving by leaps and bounds every year, is still frontier science.
Following is a short list of some practical tips not usually found on sleep hygiene sites that may work for you.
This menu is in no particular order of importance. Choose one or try all. You’ve got nothing to loose but another sleepless night.
And if these don’t work after consistent application over several months, message me and I’ll throw some more ideas at you.
1. Sit in an upright position. Draw your shoulder blades back. Open your chest. Feel your feet on the floor. Take a big breath in through your nose, fill your lungs, hold for the count of three. Release slowly through your open mouth. Un-hunch your shoulders. Roll your shoulders. Gently move your head in a nodding motion, and from side to side. Repeat the breath again. Move your shoulders again, gently. Repeat this process at least three times, breathing more deeply with each added breath.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Use a progressive muscle relaxation technique. Here’s one I particularly like: (https://youtu.be/ihO02wUzgkc)
The Big O
Have an orgasm. Neuroscience supports the notion. How you go about getting one is up to you. ;-)
Early To Bed
Go to bed earlier. This can make all the difference. Nine or earlier is good. If that means you wake earlier, that’s good too. You will be in synch with your natural Cortisol and Dopamine cycles, which is a very good thing to do.
You don’t want to take any more sleeping tablets? Try Cortitrol. It’s my favorite for turning back the fight/flight effect of Cortisone. Please ask me if you don’t know about this product and I’ll send you some info. I call it my “bliss bomb”. It’s safe for kids and pregnant mums and the elderly.
Spray the scent of gardenia on your pillow slips. Gardenia is apparently more soporific than lavender.
Use a “weighted” blanket.
Find Hidden Pain
Scan your body for any aches or twinges. Our brain can be very clever at subliminally squashing our awareness of any chronic pain. (Body awareness can be particularly poor if you are managing spectrum issues.) The only way to fully recognize this is to stop for a few minutes and scan your body, taking stock of how your body is feeling. Then, take note and then take some decent pain meds. Bring up your discoveries to your doctor who can help find the culprit.
If pain is the issue, book yourself into a regular myofascial release class with a trained physical therapist. (You can even find some online.) You won’t believe the difference this body practice will make in your life until you’ve tried it. The longer you keep this practice up, over months and years, the more freely you will move and in turn sleep.
Still awake at 2.30? Fill up a cereal bowl with Weetabix or another low sugar high fibre complex carbohydrate. Follow this with a chaser of a cup of warm cocoa or cup of honey, chamomile and vanilla tea. I also love the combination of Camomile, Melatonin and Valerian. It’s instantly soporific. (These can be found in tablet form as well.)
Do Something Boring
Get up and do something you dislike and have been avoiding or a project that is worrying you. Ironing is my go-to. Usually, that’s enough to make me want to sleep!
Hypnotherapy can help. Book a session or two with a Clinical Hypnotherapist. Make sure that they also have accredited medical /allied health training behind them.
Uncomfortable or frightened about seeing a Clinical Hypnotherapist or do you need the help right now? Listen to Delta waves and Binomial beats used by hypnotherapists in their sessions. Know that there are dozens of free sites on YouTube that offer these sorts of soundtracks. Choose one that appeals to you or put several on shuffle on your phone. Pop your phone under your pillow and drift off to these soothing sounds. You can learn more about brain wave entrainment here.
A gentle reminder:
Sleeping for a straight 8 hours is a relatively modern concept. Many older cultures ( including our ancestors) slept for only four hours at a time. They would do this two or three times a day. They may have only slept for four hours at a time, but, they still, from the literature I’ve read, still knew to sleep a minimum of eight hours within each twenty-four. You may find that this sleeping pattern works better for you too?
Remember, stress less about not sleeping. Whatever works for you in getting to sleep, is fine.
(as long as it doesn’t hurt you or others)
Your body knows what’s best for you. YOU are your own best sleep expert. All you have to do is try different approaches and observe. We call this body integrity.
I hope that this has been helpful.
If you have any questions or other tips and tricks that work well for you, that you would like to share with others, please write to me. I love sharing.
Lots of Love.
PS. The only other suggestion I want to repeat is to resist filling those sleepless moments with television, the internet and social media … in other words, anything that hijacks your attention.