Do you toss and turn throughout the night, thinking about what happened yesterday or what you have to get done tomorrow?
Wake up feeling exhausted and unfocused?
Maybe simple decisions stump you during the day?
Do you keep coming down with colds?
Are you still hungry after eating all day or find yourself being more emotional or accident-prone?
Chances are that you, like many others, are falling short on sleep. In a study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation’s Health Index, 35% of Americans reported that their sleep is poor or only fair. This is cause for concern given that according to some estimates, 90% of people with insomnia also have other serious health problems, such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes. According to the Sleep Foundation, it's recommended that we get 7-9 hours of sleep per night to set us up for good health. Some of the benefits we get from a good night's sleep are:
- Increased happiness and less stress
- More focus and improved memory
- Weight loss
- Reduced inflammation
- Increased stamina
People have trouble sleeping for a variety of reasons, such as an unsuitable bedroom environment (e.g., too cold/hot, too much noise or light), big meals before bed, excessive caffeine throughout the day, laptop or cell phone usage before bed (light emitted from these devices suppresses the sleep hormone melatonin) and irregular sleep schedules. However, the most common cause of insomnia is stress and anxiety.
When you take stressful thoughts and emotions with you to bed at night, not only do they interfere with your getting the rest you need, but they also get in the way of your brain formulating everything you’ve learned and experienced during the day. According to researchers from Harvard Medical School, we are consolidating our thoughts and memories while we sleep and there is strong evidence to suggest that adequate sleep is critical for cognition, memory and learning.
Rather than taking sleeping pills, which can be highly addictive and have negative side effects; the safer way to fall asleep is to cultivate a healthy, calm mind. Although this might take some practice, the benefits are enormous in the way you will feel, both in and out of bed. By practicing some simple tools and techniques, you can become more in control of your thoughts and emotions during the day and just before you go to sleep. This will allow you to get the restful sleep needed to recharge, refocus and wake up feeling energized. Since we sleep about 1/3 of our lives, if we can transform our sleep, we can transform our entire lives.
Here is a short audio recording that can help you relax and let your mind calm down. Listen to this before going to bed or if you’re feeling restless throughout the night.
Also, Check out the book "Sleep For Success" by Dr. James B Mass for guidance on setting up a sleep schedule that works for you.
To your best self,