Feeling Old Before Your Time?
From: Work/Life Balance Entrepreneur Coach Vanessa Long, Newmarket, Ontario.
To: Solo-preneurs, Small Business Owners, Heart-Centred Entrepreneurs, Purpose Seekers
Feeling Old Before Your Time?
Check These 9 Essential Sleep Strategies for Better Health and More Energy
Today, we're going to look at 9 essential sleep tips and how they can give you more energy and keep you young. If you're hauling your sorry butt out of bed every morning and dreading the day, then this article could be a game changer for you.
Why is sleep important? There are two main physiological reasons that we need to sleep that I'll be addressing here.
The first is that our body heals best when it is at rest. While we physically rest, our body is repairing all the damage that we've done to it – restoring our skin, our tendons, and our ligaments. Without healthy sleep, your body will take much longer to heal, if it does at all.
The second is that your mind heals why you sleep as well. With the conscious mind down and out for the count, the unconscious bustles about tidying up all the unresolved emotions and thoughts from throughout the day. It processes, stores, and organizes your internal world so that you can wake up and function the next day. When people don't get enough sleep, they go start getting loopy – it's not a pretty scene as psychological research has been showing for decades.
So, without further ado…
#9. Check your temperature.
Okay, not really *your* temperature, but the temperature of the room where you sleep. If your room is too hot (or too cold!) then your body will be under stress all night and unable to settle into the healing sleep that you so desperately need.
#8. Lights out!
For complete relaxation, your body needs it as dark as possible. Fear of the dark aside (and if that's a problem, we should talk!), you need to cut down on light pollution. Just a few months ago I went out and bought black-out shades for our bedroom because I'd had enough of waking up with the sun.
What a difference!! Now I'm able to get the sleep I need and I can ignore that the sun is rising. It isn't perfect yet because a little light leaks in around the edges, but the next step is curtains and that'll take care of that problem!
#7. Don't be short-sheeted!
Get the best, softest, coolest sheets you can afford. Really. You spend 1/3 of your life in bed – treat yourself to silky smooth sheets that feel luxurious and fit for a queen (or king!). If you've never had 400+ thread count sheets I encourage you to splurge on a set. We have some 250-thread count sheets and it feels like sleeping on sand paper compared to the higher thread counts. You totally deserve this.
#6. Lumpy, bumpy mattresses just don't cut it.
If you wake up in more pain than when you went to bed this is a good sign that you need a new mattress. Get the best one you can afford. Stretch and get one that is slightly better than you think you can afford. Save up for it, wait for it to come on sale, sell your first born (kidding!)… whatever you have to do to get a solid, luxurious mattress is definitely high on the list for prosperous living and a healthy back, body, and mind.
If you can't afford a new mattress right yet then do what I did: go out and get a 2" piece of memory foam and a really, really good quilted, cushiony mattress protector and use those as a stopgap. I did this and it made a huuuuuge difference.
#5. Drown out the sound.
Every time your brain has to process a sound, it wakes you up just a little. What sounds can you eliminate? This is a big deal – there are many, many couples who sleep apart and the excuse they use is that the other person disrupted their sleep too much. Me? I just wear ear plugs. It can be kind of freaky at first, but being able to sleep makes it worthwhile.
White noise machines that generate sound waves that mask annoying noises are also very effective and can be inexpensive. If you have a spouse who snores, white noise machines can really help. If your spouse has sleep apnea (breath cessation), get them to the Doctor! I know many couples who have been much healthier and happier since they got a CPAP machine for the snorer.
#4. Go to bed earlier.
And go to sleep.
How early? Like 10 p.m. kind of early.
Why? When I was researching sleep I discovered that your body produces a surge of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) at approximately 11 p.m. – if you're asleep. If you're still awake you miss out on it.
Why does HGH matter? Human Growth Hormone has been called the fountain of youth. When your body secretes it at night, it triggers a whole cascade of hormonal re-balancing that restores your body to more vitality and vigor. (Explaining it properly requires a whole host of big words that I try to avoid in these articles, but maybe one day I'll geek out and do it.)
Trust me on this one: without it, your body stays in stress mode; with it, your body heals and restores itself.
Getting to sleep before 11 may seem impossible to you right now. If it does, I want you to seriously think about this problem and how important your health is to you. If you need support, let me know… there are always solutions.
#3. Cut down on the visual stimulus.
Avoid watching TV or the news. Really, when I think about this a bit more, it's a general guideline for me. My life is soooo much better with less TV and news. Cancelling our cable was the best thing we ever did.
I mean, how long can you tolerate having 900 channels that are all showing crap before you turn it off and start to build a passionate life?
[stepping off of my soap box now]
Back to sleep and healthy living. Sadly, one of the more common features of North American culture is beginning and ending our days with TV or radio or the computer feeding us news and drama. If we're not watching the news, then we're watching a show that is too mature for the little ones so the networks only put them on after 9 p.m. I'm thinking crime dramas here.
The problem with watching this stuff right before bed is that our visual processing centres are wired so that visual stimulus makes a beeline for the unconscious mind. Within about 2 minutes of starting to watch TV you've been dropped into a trance where your mind is much more susceptible to the messages coming at you. Your unconscious mind will accept what it watches as truth and then have to work to process it.
Doesn't your life have enough drama already? Do you really need to go watch someone else's real or fictional drama?
Just remember that, while you sleep, your unconscious mind has to process everything that happened during your day. If you choose to add disturbing news and images right before you fall asleep then know that you are increasing the burden on your unconscious mind and keeping yourself in a high-stress state of adrenalin. A state where sleep will be much harder.
What to do instead?
You could choose to read an inspiring book, or listen to soothing music, or have a calming conversation with your spouse. You might even try to get a backrub out of it… it could happen!
Make a choice for your health today and disconnect from the visual stimuli for an hour or so before bed. Which means that if you're going to bed at 10 p.m. per #4 above, then you're shutting off the noise at 9 p.m.
#2. Watch what and when you eat.
Time for even more scheduling! When is the best time to eat for a healthy and happy sleepy-time?
Okay, let's be honest here. There are entire books on this subject, there are entire degrees on the subject of nutrition and health. And there are many wonderful holistic nutritionists that I work with and love. If you're really stuck on this issue, then I can hook you up with one.
But let's be honest. For the vast majority of us, we know what we should and shouldn't be eating – especially right before bed. Admit it: when your body is busy processing all the crap you stuffed into it at 10 or 11 because you were needing a snack, it can't relax and get healthy. Can it? It makes it harder to sleep and decreases your health.
A good general guideline is to avoid eating anything within two or three hours of bedtime (unless there are health limitations like blood sugar control). Yes, this means you'll have to put in place some structure and boundaries to support a healthier eating time. But that's not all bad.
Who knows? Maybe your family will have to eat dinner together… stranger things have happened.
And maybe you'll get away from the TV which is where an awful lot of the numb-out eating happens.
#1 Clear out the baggage.
If you have taken care of all the other items in the list then I bet your sleep has already improved a huge amount.
But if you are still having problems falling asleep, or find yourself waking up in the middle of the night or far too early in the morning (think the 3 a.m. wake-up), then there is probably something going on in your unconscious that you need to deal with. This also applies if you wake up in the morning feeling like you've run a marathon and you're more tired and cranky than when you went to sleep.
There are two big strategies I give my clients to deal with the 3 a.m. wake-up. One of them involves having a conversation with the unconscious mind and I believe it is so important that I introduce it at the beginning of the Problem Elimination Bootcamp.
I also recommend sleeping with a pad of paper (I use my iPhone with notifications and the ringer off) beside your bed so that you can jot down whatever it is that your unconscious mind keeps bugging you about. If you don't write it down it has to take up valuable space in your conscious mind and that will interfere with your sleep. I talk about this in the Bootcamp as well because it's hard to eliminate your problems if your mind is all busy with them.
Get it all out on paper so that you can deal with it. If you need support with clearing out the past, then contact me and I'll see how we can work together to get you unstuck and moving toward your passionately purposeful life.
Take the Sleep Essentials Challenge!
There they are: 9 sleep secrets that can make all the difference in getting a healthy and happy night's sleep.
Imagine what could happen if you took them and implemented them now.
Here's my coaching challenge for you: What one item from the list could you take action on in the next 24 hours? How about in the next 72 hours?
Pick one thing and then let me know what happens when you take action.
We build the life of our dreams one small step at a time.
Take a step today and watch what happens. As I see it, your results matter.
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Tagged as: Healthy Living, Mind-Body Wellness, Radical Self-Care, Tools for Life Change, Your Body is a Temple