Want to Sleep Better? Practice!

Image via Wikipedia. From MoveSleepEat.comIt is a Friday afternoon, and the weekend is starting early. Clouds have rolled in, thunder rumbles in the distance, and much-needed rain begins to fall on my part of Houston. If I weren’t involved in multiple projects and deadlines, it would be a good time for a nap.

The great comedian W.C. Fields said, “The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep.” It seems obvious, and yet sleep eludes many.

The best solution for sleeplessness, and in the long run, the easiest, is to change your lifestyle to one which supports you in your desire to sleep well. Most people would rather take a pill, or purchase a gadget or special bedding, or eat a miracle food that will help them to sleep. Changing your lifestyle seems a bit daunting. What would it take?

It’s easier than you think. One of the best things you can do for yourself to improve your ability to sleep is to re-purpose your morning and afternoon coffee breaks. Instead of drinking a cup of coffee, or having a sugary snack, take that time simply to sit quietly, by yourself. Close your office door, even lie down on the floor if you can. Set a timer to go off in 10 or 15 minutes. Close your eyes and get comfortable. Observe your breathing for several cycles. Chances are, you will be awakened by your timer! This quiet time, whether you go to sleep or not, will “unplug” you from your daily stress cycle. Do this twice a day, and you will be much less stressed at the end of the day. Lower stress levels during the day lead to improved ability to fall asleep at night.

When people ask me for help in this area, and I describe this little experiment, I usually hear protests. “That is so hard! I can’t break away from my work for that long! What will my colleagues think if I’m not hanging around in the break room with them? I’ll be out of the loop!”

And you wonder why you can’t sleep?

I teach a series of powerful pro-sleep techniques called the Sounder Sleep System®, which elaborate and expand upon this theme of quiet time-outs during the day to lower your overall stress and promote a good night’s sleep. As a practice becomes part of your lifestyle, you begin to make room for what once was perceived as an intrusion or an inconvenience. The value of a practice grows over time: the more you do it, the better you become at it. You wouldn’t expect to be able to play the piano well after just one lesson, would you? However, practicing the piano each day supports the intention of one who wishes to become a pianist. Likewise, when you create just a little space during your day for quiet and calm, that supports your intention to have a good night’s sleep.

Your lifestyle creates a certain set of conditions, the results of which can be seen in your overall health. If your lifestyle creates the conditions for sleeplessness, you can’t expect that continuing to do the same things will lead to a different outcome. Try my suggestion for a week, and let me know your results!

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