It is so common in fact that most people just accept the fact that they don’t sleep particularly well. They do nothing about it beyond the odd bit of complaining and (un)happily adopt the role of restless sleeper. In the last five years of running a full time practice I could maybe count on one hand the number of clients I have seen who are regularly getting the necessary quality and quantity of sleep. My measuring stick is based on one simple question: when you wake in the morning to start your day, do you feel rested or could you use more sleep?
Don’t answer that. I already know what the answer probably is.
Perhaps this is why we treat those who suffer the most with little sympathy. When we meet someone who we might genuinely describe as an insomniac, this who would describe their sleep pattern as ruining their life, we confuse their lack of sleep as the same as our lack of sleep and expect them to soldier on.
I remember David Baddiel talking about his chronic insomnia and the extraordinary lack of sympathy he would get from people he mentioned it to. To those who are familiar with the feeling of lying awake in an exhausted, wired and frustrated state when their insomnia gets brushed off as commonplace it can feel more than a little insensitive. Baddiel described people who say “You don’t sleep? That’s funny because I sleep REALLY well!” as a little like telling someone that you have a terminal illness and them laughing at how they are by contrast perfectly healthy!
In truth lack of sleep is no laughing matter. Whilst we can survive for weeks without a scrap of food, the world record for not sleeping is around 11 days. After that we literally begin to go mad and eventually die. Let’s face it, our brains and bodies need sleep!
So why is it, our subconscious (that part of us in charge of being conscious or unconscious) seems to place sleep quite low on its list of priorities?
It’s simple really. When we are born and we have no concerns beyond getting fed and cuddled we race around using up energy and then when we run out we fall sleep. Then we recharge our batteries, wake up and start using up energy again. This cycle repeats without interruption because we really don’t have anything to worry about beyond the concerns of the moment we are in.
Unfortunately we then start to learn things.
The things we start to learn start with safety issues and expand to more long term concerns that eventually include work and relationships. By the time we are heading out into the world under our own steam our tendency to worry or get stressed is pretty much programmed in. If our mind has decided that it won’t let us rest until all is right with the world and every thought is nicely in its particular neurological box then as the world throws more and more random concerns our way we will start to trade those hours of sleep for hours of pondering and puzzling. Our mind is very good and borrowing good sleep time to get a bit of pointless worrying work done. Either this will keep us awake or have us processing so energetically in our sleep that we will wake feeling like we’ve just done a night’s work.
The good news is that if we deliver the message to the right part of us that sleeping all night is probably the most important job we will do today then that part can get busy shutting everything down and switching you off. It’s as simple as this: Even if tomorrow is so important, even if you have to save the world din the morning, you are better off resting and recharging your batteries than pondering your saving the world strategies over and over. You need to be at 100% battery charge tomorrow…after all you’ve got to save the world!
If you’d like to know a little bit more about some useful strategies for getting a good night’s sleep then watch the videos.
I’ll explain how we reduce the stress hormone that interrupts sleep and give you my top five tips for practical measures to increase the chances of sleeping well.
To find out how to deliver messages directly to your subconscious (such as for God’s sake go to sleep!) then click the link and learn the system!
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