Bad sleep can leave you feeling drained all day long and worrying about the next bad night’s sleep to come. I had a huge sleep problem from age 5 till age 29. I felt exhausted all day, but the nearer I got to bedtime, the more wide awake I felt. Now, I thoroughly enjoy sleep! And I thoroughly enjoy helping other people resolve their sleep problems too!
WHAT CAUSES INSOMNIA?
When you are stuck in the stress response, you have very elevated blood cortisol levels and adrenaline. These hormones prevent you from going to sleep. You may also have developed faulty thinking patterns and beliefs that exacerbate your sleep problems. Your sleep problems may be the result of traumatic experiences that have happened when you were asleep or trying to sleep. Another cause is lifestyle – caffeine, computer use, rushing late at night… are all things that we know do not help sleep…
HOW CAN EMPOWER THERAPIES HELP?
I offer a four day course called The Switch, which takes place in a small group of eight people. You will learn about how your mind and body work, the role of stress in sleep disorders, which thinking and behaviour patterns are exacerbating your sleep problems, which situations from your past might be causing your current sleep problems and which aspects of your lifestyle need to be changed to improve your sleep. For each of these topics, you learn techniques that you can use yourself to fix these patterns. I do not fix anybody – I teach you how to fix yourself. I have seen fantastic results for many people who had spent years as an insomniac. One lady reported that she normally takes 8 sleeping pills a night and still “doesn’t sleep at all”, and yet on the night of Day 2 of The Switch, she only took 3.5 pills and slept for 11 hours.
HOW CAN YOU HELP YOURSELF?
60% of people aged 13 to 64 years old say that they experience a sleep problem every night or almost every night (National Sleep Foundation poll, 2011). There are environmental factors that have been identified through well-being research to improve sleep:
• Don’t drink coffee and eat chocolate before bed
• Don’t use a computer or other electronic equipment before bed
• Turn your cellphone and wifi off overnight. Research is inconclusive as to whether sleep is affected, but it’s a simple precaution to turn them off anyway. The alarm will still work in flight mode but other reception will stop. I have a timer attached to my router so that it switches it off between midnight and 7am
• Do your night preparation routine slowly to help slow your body down for sleep
• Use blackout curtains on your windows
• Don’t clear your work emails at 3am
• If you’re doing stress before bed, use calm breathing exercises before getting into bed so that you are ready for sleep
• Reading or listening to an audiobook for a while can be a nice way to calm yourself for sleep
• Don’t tell yourself “I didn’t sleep at all last night” because it is almost never true. One of NZ’s leading sleep psychiatrists reported that, out of 10,000 people that he had connected to a sleep monitor overnight, only one did not sleep for three nights, despite most of them thinking that they had not
• We are all designed to wake up every 3-4 hours to roll over, check that we are safe and comfortable and then go back to sleep. Good sleepers are only awake for such a short length of time that they don’t remember it in the morning and claim that they slept right through the night. If you wake, stay calm about it, just check that you’re comfortable and allow yourself to fall straight back to sleep
If these suggestions fix your sleep problems – FANTASTIC!
If these very simple interventions are not enough for you, that’s OK. Come to Empower Therapies for far more strategies and techniques to rewire your neural pathways and remove your blocks to sleeping.
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Disclaimer: We are not medically trained and therefore did not diagnose these clients ourselves. We rely on client information about their diagnosis from their health professionals and we recommend clients to return to their doctors after our treatment to confirm that they no longer have their condition and to be advised about safe weaning from their medication. We cannot guarantee results, as every individual is different, however, we have seen excellent results for the vast majority of our insomnia clients, and have followed them up for a year to confirm that they are maintaining their positive changes. Note – I taught The Lightning Process for 8 years to over 1200 clients with excellent results. Now I teach The Switch instead, and have been really excited by the results that they are achieving.