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Getting a Better Night's Sleep

07 Aug

Hello All,

First off, I want to let you know about an upcoming event. The Gathering Place – a terrific organization with centers on the East and West Sides of Cleveland that provides free support to cancer patients and those who worry about them, in the form of integrative and CAM therapies, support groups, massage and Reiki, yoga classes, children’s services, nutritional advice, etc - will be holding its Beyond Breast Cancer program on October 15th in Independence, Ohio. I’ll be giving the morning keynote: Gifts of the Imagination: Guided Imagery for Surviving and Thriving Beyond Cancer. For more information contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (216) 595-9546. I hope to see you there!

You can watch the first two video segments of an earlier presentation I gave for these same, excellent folks here. (The rest of this presentation will be added over the coming weeks).

And speaking of your health, we all know that sleep, or rather the lack of it, is a persistent problem for almost everyone these days...

 

It’s so easy to cheat yourself of a good night’s worth. So here are a few tips from author, health journalist and blogger, Ellen Michaud, to help make getting a good night’s sleep easier.

The Daily Schedule

Wake Up at the Same Time Every Day
A good night’s sleep actually starts in the morning. Activating the brain at the same time every morning teaches your body that at midnight it’s supposed to be asleep and at noon it’s supposed to be awake. Wake up at a different time every day and the clock is out of sync.  

Give Yourself an Hour—the one right before bed.
You need it to wind down and make the transition from the person-who-can-do-everything to the person-who-can-sleep. According to a recent poll by the National Sleep Foundation, during the hour before bed about 60 percent of them do household chores, 37 percent take care of children, 36 percent do activities with other family members, 36 percent are on the Internet, and 21 percent catch up on work.

Put Yourself First
Women aren’t used to putting their needs ahead of others’, but sleep is so necessary to health and happiness, they must. If the dog’s snoring wakes you up, put him in another room. If your partner’s snoring wakes you up, help him get treatment. If he refuses to cooperate, put him in another room.

Work and Life

Dump the 24-7 stuff
Even if we manage to drop into bed for the six hours researchers claim most of us spend there, our minds are full of what-if ’s, why-did-we’s and what’s on the-agenda-tomorrow’s. All this rumination and agitation ignites stress hormones that keep us in a state of perpetual arousal.

Don’t Work So Late
The prevailing thought is that you have to stay late to get the job done. But working right up until bedtime is bound to affect your sleep. Go home at a reasonable hour. The truth is that it’s better to go get some sleep, then come back and do more work in the morning. Studies show that after a good night’s sleep, your increased ability to concentrate means that you can work faster and more accurately.

Manage the Electronics
You don’t have to do without your gadgets to cut stress—just control them. Turn off your cell in the evening, and the instant notification on your e-mail too. Switch off your monitor, ditch the night-light and rotate the clock-radio display. Your brain can misinterpret even dim lights and wonder if it should wake you up. Total darkness tells your brain it’s time to sleep.

And last, but certainly not least:

Use Guided Imagery
Slip a CD of guided imagery into your player, snuggle into bed, turn out the lights and follow the imagery into sleep. It helps shut down the adrenaline that’s keeping you wired, while the voice, tone and music settle your ramped-up nervous system with a shot of calming hormones.




Until next week,
The Health Journeys Staff
{Ed. Note: Belleruth has been away, launching a randomized, controlled guided imagery study with 300 soldiers at Ft. Sill.}

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award