A few weeks ago, I wrote about self-talk. How the words and tone we use to speak to ourselves make such a difference to our lives and to our health. Today I’d like to bring up the companion topic of listening. I have three questions to ask you on this subject.
What kind of listener are you? This isn’t just about listening to yourself. I mean, listening to your friends, your family, your partner. Are you able to stay attentive to what they are saying? Does your mind wander off at times? Are you composing what to say back to them in your head while they are still talking?
What kind of listener do you appreciate? Do you like eye contact while talking, or no eye contact? There is no right and wrong here, this is a very personal thing. Do want the person to stop what they are doing and listen or are you comfortable when you are both engaged in some sort of activity? Do you like to get feedback in the form of nods, uh huhs, responding comments? Or do you prefer people...
Now you may be wondering what being kind to ourselves has to do with our sleep? Actually it has a LOT to do with good sleep. When we are NOT kind to ourselves, that's when our self-care and support routines fall by the wayside. It's also when our negative self-talk can add to feelings of anxiety, guilt and unhappiness, which can then contribute to stress and arousal instead of relaxation and good sleep.
For just one day, my challenge to you is to be aware of how you speak to yourself. For best results, you could write down what you hear yourself saying, or at least record the overall tone. Do you call yourself names? Is there any phrase or idea that comes up over and over again?
Then, reflect on the effect those words and tone are having. Are they helping you to feel good about yourself, to feel encouraged? Are you being kind to yourself?
Sometimes when things are going well, our self-talk can be positive. But when we make a mistake, when we are in pain or under stress, or we feel...
As a child at my dad's house, waking up Christmas morning was a magical experience. As an adult, I got to see behind the scenes and finally realised why my dad and step-mother were always so exhausted on Christmas day! (Hint: it had something to do with staying up until 4 am wrapping presents!)
So in their honour, the # 10 tip for Holiday Sleep and Survival is:
10. Wrap gifts as you go, and definitely BEFORE the night before deadline!
This next tip is all very nice to say . . .
9. Don’t stress too much. It’s the HOLIDAYS! A week of fun, food, family and relaxation. It doesn't have to be perfect, and because of the food and family element, it can't be! So be happy with how it rolls.
It might help to accept that:
8. Your family (and sometime your friends) are your family. They probably won’t be changing anytime soon. Hopefully that’s a good thing, but if not, I've found that acceptance works better than exasperation.
7. If you are feeling isolated or...
Sleep disorders like insomnia are usually not born but made. Often they start during a time of situational stress like with the birth of a new baby, starting a new job, death of loved one, relationship problems. Most often people find that insomnia occurs as delayed sleep onset (difficulty falling asleep) or difficulty with sleep maintenance (difficulty staying asleep or sleeping long enough). Sometimes insomnia manifests as BOTH. I have had clients who before working with me got only 2 hours sleep per night, and in many cases had nights when they did not sleep at all.
Chronic insomnia as defined by the National Sleep Foundation is when difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep happens three or more nights per week, for at least three months.
If you were sleeping only 4 or 5 hours per night on a good night, with other nights where you were lying awake for hours, and sometimes all night, it's understandable that you might start to think of yourself as someone who is...
The Two Types of Stress
Did you know that there are two different types of stress? And that one of these types of stress is much more damaging to our sleep? We hear about flight or fight, but recently psychologists have found that flight stress and fight stress is handled differently in the body. Even more importantly than that, we are able to BY THE WAY WE THINK ABOUT OUR STRESSOR, change whether our body interprets our stress as bad or good. This in turn can make the difference between us being able to recover from stress by sleeping, or whether we are so stressed that we are unable to sleep.
We can think about our “Fight Stress” as a challenge. Something that takes all of our resources, but that we have a chance to win at. This could be a fight in the playground, the bedroom or the boardroom, but the significant thing here is that we feel we have a chance and thus our body gears up to fight. A fight is something that has an end to it, and after the fight...
If you have trouble sleeping, how to fall asleep can become something can think about constantly. Falling asleep fast can seem like a distant dream when you toss and turn for an hour or more before you can fall asleep. You may have even had nights when you can’t fall asleep at all! After months or years of this, insomnia is no longer just one of a growing epidemic of sleep disorders; it’s something you experience night after night.
It just doesn’t make sense. You’re tired. Fatigued, You want and need to sleep. You may even be doing some or all of the right things, like practicing good sleep hygiene as suggested by your doctor or psychologist or the last magazine article or internet search you did. You have a regular bedtime routine. You switch off your phone or computer at least an hour before bed. You drink a cup of warm milk and honey or camomile tea or you have a prescription for melatonin. And sure, you get sleepy, often on the couch while you’re...
You know that sleepy feeling you get after lunch? That "wish I could take a nap" urge to crawl under your desk and get a few minutes of shut-eye? What do you do instead? If you're like hundreds of millions of people world wide, you grab a cup of coffee, Maybe you grab a chocolate bar as well, or a muffin, drink of red bull or another high-caffeine soda or sports drink. Anything to give you that little boost.
What is the problem with this?
Well, it can mask your sleep deprivation. And when we don't get enough sleep, we become dangerous drivers, emotionally volatile, worse at remembering things, more liable to make mistakes and less productive. Studies show that just 1 hour of sleep loss below what we need can cause impairment. JUST 1 HOUR!
How much sleep do we need? For healthy adults the range is 7-9 hours. Yet how many of us are surviving during the week on 6 hours of sleep or less?
When we don't get enough sleep, night after night, this also affects our health. The...