The Gift of Sleep
Ahh, the comfort of a good night of sleep! Many of us take sleep for granted and others struggle for years to catch enough “Z”s . Many sleep problems have to do with worrying, having repetitive thoughts, being unable to “shut down one’s brain”, having chronic discomfort or having poor sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene refers to the routines and habits we have before sleep. Some of us may be sabotaging our sleep before we even hit the pillow.
Why is sleep of importance? Isn’t it a sign of stamina to be able to function on less sleep? (Ever hear the phrase, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”?)
How important is adequate sleep?
You may be surprised to learn how crucial regular, adequate sleep is to your health and well-being.
The most obvious side effect of chronic poor sleep is fatigue. This experience is only one sign of how our body is negatively impacted by poor sleep.
Studies have shown sleep deprivation is related to the following:
*Increased risk of automobile accidents
*Increased risk of accidents and injuries on the job
*Impairment in attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning and problem solving
*Increased risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke.
*Increased risk for depression
*Aging of the skin
*Less ability to store long-term memories
*Increase in hunger and appetite—especially cravings for high-fat, high-carb foods
Enough to motivate you? The first step = Good Sleep Hygiene
1. Cut off caffeine use after 3:00 p.m.
2. Sleep in a dark room
3. Make sure your bed is comfortable.
4. Make your bedroom a “television free zone”.
5. Get in your exercise before 7 p.m.
6. End all eating/snacking by 8:00 p.m.
7. Have a consistent sleep routine—go to bed at the same time each night.
8. If you have an alarm clock next to your bed, face it away from you to avoid being a “clock watcher”.
9. Reading before bed is okay but most folks should avoid violent/graphic stories right before trying to sleep. I know this sounds obvious—but people often get engrossed in mystery novels involving violence. What you think about right before falling asleep is “mulled over” by the subconscious all night long. Choosing relaxing, peaceful thoughts is the best way to go.
After you’ve established good sleep hygiene, improve your sleep even more with this effective technique from http://skyblueriver.co.uk/blog/trouble-sleeping-try-the-3-2-1-sleep-technique/.
The 3-2-1 Technique for Sleep
First, just listen for three things. Any three things that you hear: the noise of your breathing—“one”; maybe the sound of crickets—“two”; or maybe the sound of a fan—“three”. Any three things at all. They can even be the same thing, counted more than once. Just listen for, hear, and then count three things, one at a time. It’s that simple.
Next, feel three things. Any three things. The feeling of the sheet against the skin—one. An interesting tingling sensation in the limbs—two. Cool or maybe warm air on the face—three. It does not matter what they are. Any three things will do. They can be different or the same. Just feel them and count them, 1, 2, 3.
And then, see three things. Allow 3 images to come into the mind with your eyes closed. Just let them appear on their own. A rose—”one”. A blue sky—”two”. Some third image; it does not matter what it is, maybe a beach—”three”. Any three images. Then, after you have seen the third thing, go back and hear two things, and count them in the mind. Then feel two things. Then see two things. Then hear one thing, feel one thing, and see one thing.
And then start again. Hear three things, feel three things, see three things. Then hear two things, feel two things and see two things. Then hear, feel and see one thing.
And back to three. As the mind is experiencing what it hears, feels and sees, as it starts to drift to sleep, you will likely lose count. That is fine; just start over. Hear, feel and see three things. Hear, feel and see two things. Hear, feel and see one thing. You can uses this strategy and discover what interesting things you can experience as you drift into a deep, restful sleep.
Enjoy and please share this with your friends and family!