Good Sleep is a Reachable Dream
You may have heard that sleep is one of the most important things we can do for our bodies and minds. A few weeks ago we discussed some lifestyle changes that can help us get to sleep…or get back to sleep.
Personally, even when I have had a regular sleep schedule, falling asleep can be difficult. My mind is stuck on the events of the day…or the challenges of tomorrow. Then, there are those days when I wake still feeling groggy, even though my clock says 7 or 8 hours have passed. Am I getting enough sleep? Is it deep enough? Why am I still so tired? Can you relate? Some of us might even worry whether we’ll ever see a “good night’s sleep.” Getting enough sleep can be complicated, even becoming a source of frustration and stress.
A Ruffled Mind Makes a Restless Pillow
Stress occurs when we face uncertainty and lack of control and this can, actually, impair our ability to sleep. Our minds begin to take over and sleep becomes more elusive. Whether we have trouble falling asleep, or staying asleep it is best when we can set ourselves free from the worry and storylines we create about whether we can sleep…or fall back to sleep. We need to, simply, try to be kinder to ourselves, finding a place of calm where we can drift off with ease. Here are a few things I have found to help.
- Meditation (1) – Is used to slow down the busy mind. Meditation teaches you about your own mind and its way of thinking. When you first begin to meditate, you may be surprised at how your mind jumps from one thought to another. The focus of meditation is to become mindful about bringing your thoughts back to a focal point, like your breath, or the flicker of a candle, or the sound of a relaxing music, or the feeling of your feet on a path, or your body’s motion as you swim through the water or dance across the floor. Meditation can be done in a number of ways (2), not just sitting on a cushion with your legs crossed, although that is a wonderful way to get to know, and relax, your mind! Once you begin to teach your mind to relax, you will be able to use this skill to help you to fall asleep.
- Sleep Hypnosis (3) – Sometimes called “creative visualization”, hypnosis is used to access the subconscious mind that holds all of your beliefs and biological programs, including your beliefs about your ability to sleep. A qualified Hypnotherapist can create and record suggestions tailored specifically to your sleep challenges. Then you can use your recording each day as you lay down to sleep. The suggestions can retrain your sleep “programs” and can not only put you into that wonderful Delta state (sleep), but can help you to achieve a deeper sleep, or REM sleep, where your mind and body perform their healing processes. This will help you to feel more rested in the morning. Hypnosis is, often, the fastest way to overcome long-standing sleep problems.
Both meditation and sleep hypnosis can help by lowering the heart rate, encouraging slower breathing, and teaching us to trigger our "relaxation response” when we need it most.
See your Provider for Other Medical Interventions for Sleep
If none of these methods or strategies seem to be working, you should see your provider to evaluate for other possible medical interventions. There are many sleep disorders or sleep related issues that may be affecting your sleep such as insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, narcolepsy, and others. Your provider can work with you and possibly prescribe some medications to help you get the sleep you deserve!
Author: Cynthia Wisehart, CHt, CHHC, CLC
Cynthia has over 20 years of experience helping her clients by using hypnotherapy, advanced regression therapy, past life regression therapy, coaching, energy work, and mindfulness training (among other modalities) to help you release your painful past, take control of your inner critic, and master the power to be the magnificent creators you are. A link to her website is below:
(1) D. Black,PhD, MPH; G.O’Reilly,BS; R.Olmstead,PhD; et al E.Breen,PhD;M..Irwin,MD (April 2015) Mindfulness Meditation and Improvement in Sleep Quality and Daytime Impairment Among Older Adults With Sleep DisturbancesA Randomized Clinical Trial. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2110998
(2) Z. Villines (December 22, 2017) What is the best type of meditation? Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320392
(3) E. Suni, (Updated March 11, 2022) Sleep Hypnosis https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hypnosis