Overcoming Broken Sleep
A few weeks ago I gave a short-and-snappy breakdown of why a poor sleep routine can really hamper weight loss results (you can listen to the episode here.)
With all of the things in the world like obsessive hunger levels, tasty foods, and pushy friends that prevent us losing weight, the best we can do for ourselves to is try to at least get our sleep sorted.
But there's always a recurring theme with sleep, or lack thereof, and it's the wake-up-at-night-and-not-be-able-to-get-back-to-sleep scenario I hear a lot of you report.
And I understand that no amount of improved sleep hygiene is going solve this particular problem.
Sure - turning off electronics an hour before bed, or having a fortified evening routine are all really sound principles.
But there's usually one major culprit that causes us to toss and turn at 2:30 am every single night.
Before that, though, I can tell you for fact that it is not because you have a weak bladder and you need the toilet (humans can easily go all night without weeing.)
It's because you have a recurring thought swimming round-and-round your head, over-and-over. And it won't go away.
Yes - the most likely cause for broken sleep is stress.
Now I've already delved into stress and relaxation techniques in a previous video (a 30 minute video which you can watch here.)
But there are two techniques for this that have proven to be most effective, not only in my own personal life, but also some of the lives of my clients.
The first option is to 'mind dump' everything that is going on in your head.
And it works like this:
- As soon as you finish work or right before you wind down to go to bed, open up a new Word document or flick the page of a notepad.
- Set a timer for 5 minutes.
- Write down ALL the thoughts that are swimming around.Work stuff. House stuff. Car stuff. Family stuff. All of it.
Trust me on this, it really works.
Because what you will find is that you'll now have externally expressed everything that either needs to be done immediately or at least within the next week or month.
Like having a second brain.
You can remove a lot of your pent-up emotions on a piece of A4 paper and leave it there until the following day which will allow you the luxury of a good nights sleep.
Half the battle with swimming thoughts is imply just the act of externalising them and removing them from our minds.
Now this is a short-term fix, and no amount of journaling like this will ever remove ALL stress.
The next step is to actually action these steps and tick them off your mental check-list:
- Log-on to that website and make sure the bill is paid.
- Make sure our elderly family members shopping is done the following day.
Tick off the tasks one-by-one and embrace mental clarity as a result.
So there's your first tactic - the mind dump and action protocol.Now this works well for mundane and admin based tasks.
For the really big ones:
- The annoying co-worker,
- Or the big family project that you know you MUST get round to soon.
These must be dealt with at the source.
Unfortunately some stressors you need to face head-on as no amount of writing it down will ever get it out of your mind.
It's tough, really it is, but looking back over the timeline of your life this will be such a minuscule part of it that you'll look back at why x thing made you soooooooo stressed and laugh about it.
In my experience it usually comes down to one of two things - worry about money or worry about another person (whether for the good or bad.)
Taking the action and killing the issue at the source must always be your goal for long-term health.
And as I've mentioned before - if you have a family you will never stop worrying about them.
But the best you can do for yourself is to be the healthiest, best role-model for them and look after yourself, like you would do for them.
And with this, you'll sleep straight through and wake up as relaxed as a furry creature in its cosy den.
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