You Can Sleep Better – tips for dropping off to sleep quickly

Highlights of this information update

00.00     Introduction
00.13     Difficulty getting to sleep
01.10     Worrying before going to bed
01.56     Towards better sleep
03.16     Key points for better sleep

Hello, welcome to Transforming Minds, this is Alan Patching.

Let’s address more concerning sleep.

Here’s a good starting point if you’re having difficulty getting to sleep.

Do you often find that you go to bed, the head hits the pillow and immediately the hands are behind the head on the pillow and you’re ruminating over the issues of the day….’what if this happens; what if this doesn’t happen; how on earth am I going to be able to do this, that and the other?’

The minute we start thinking like this we start producing chemicals in our body – the neurotransmitters that will keep us awake, that get us ready for action and dealing with problems.

At that time of night we’re really looking to be producing lovely endorphins. We’re looking to be producing serotonin and dopamine – ‘happy chemicals’ that’ll just take us off into dreamland, and then take us down through the stages of sleep to that lovely deep level where we can just tick over slowly while our immune system replenishes.

Worrying before we go to bed and not dealing with the issues of the day effectively (during the day) leads us to spend a lot of time dreaming during the evening, and when we’re dreaming during the night we’re at a pretty ineffective depth of sleep.

Dreaming’s an important thing – one of its tasks is to drop us off into the deeper levels of sleep.  But to do that we need to be dreaming of nice things and producing that dopamine and serotonin which drops us down into the lovely levels where our immune system replenishes.

However, if we go to sleep thinking of things that cause worry and concern, we’re more likely to be producing adrenalin and noradrenalin – the chemicals that prepare our body for action – and these make it far more difficult to drift down into those deeper stages of sleep …. and so we wake tired.

In this blog post I intend to be giving you some tips to overcome sleep problems,

And here’s the first important one.  Make a habit of making bed a place for two things and two things only – sleeping or intimacy, and don’t even use it for reading books unless, of course, reading a book helps you drop off to sleep very quickly.

If you find that you read a book and can’t get to sleep after it because it’s exciting or you’re thinking about what you read, don’t read in bed.  Instead, sit in a chair and read, or better still, go back to the lounge room and read it.

The same applies for worrying.  If you’re going to bed and ruminating about the day; what you’ll do tomorrow; what needs to be done; in what order; the to-do list; issues that didn’t get addressed properly during the day – all those worrying and adrenalin-producing thoughts, now’s the time to get out of the bed, go to another room, sit down, think it all through, take notes so you can just let it go for the evening, perhaps even change from that sort of thinking to watching a little bit of light-hearted television, or reading something really, really boring and not exciting, so you just become tired and want to go to sleep.

However, while you’re doing that, don’t go drinking alcohol or coffee because that starts to defeat the purpose and can produce even more awakening feelings in the body.

So that’s my first tip in this first blog post concerning the steps to take to enjoy better sleep.

Let me just summarise.  Make the bedroom the place where you sleep or have intimacy and nothing else.  Don’t watch television in bed, particularly if it’s exciting.  Don’t read in bed.  Don’t think in bed.

If these sort of activities are leading you to consider thinking and turning that mind over when you turn the lights out, get yourself nice and tired and ready to sleep before you go to bed so that the habit’s developed of hitting the pillow and dropping off to sleep.

It’s much like when we come to a stop sign.

We taught ourselves early in our driving career, or even observing parents and others, when you come to a stop sign you stop, you don’t think about it, it’s automatic.  We want to be able to get to the point where that head hits the pillow and we don’t have intimacy on our mind, that we just automatically drift off into a deep, healthy, replenishing sleep from which we wake in the morning rejuvenated and ready to get on effectively with the day ahead. And we want to be able to do this as easily and as effectively as automatically stopping when we see a stop sign.

Give it a try.

A simple suggestion, proven to work.

And I’ll look forward to seeing you on a future post where we’ll look at another tip or two on how you can enjoy better and more effective sleep.

I’m Alan Patching, thank you for watching or reading.

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