Thursday, March 22, 2007

sleep to dream

I have yet to meet a person who has said they get enough sleep. Or that they are perfectly satisfied with the quality of sleep they get. It's funny, how the lack of sleep affects us all at different times and in different ways.

I just finished reading Good Night by Dr. Micheal Breus. You can also find him here and here for more information about him and his passion for sleep. I am not much of a self-help book girl, but Dr. Breus impressed me with his open and conversational style and pragmatic approach.

And the brother is seriously committed to people getting a good night's sleep.

His book offers several assessments, checklists and questions to help you identify what your barriers to a good night sleep are (mine is worry and an inability to quiet the mind). Yours might be the irregular hours you keep, the lack of sleep ambience, a poor diet or lack of exercise. (ok, mine is probably some of those too). Whatever it is, it's outlined in the book along with a few I'd never thought of.

After exploring the reasons we don't get enough sleep, Dr. Breus then offers a sleep routine; one you can follow and if you do, should assist you with a better night's sleep. There are a variety of good ideas which tackle each sleep inhibiting issue holistically. He's got a four week regime you can follow, easy to maintain and a lot less annoying than a lot of self help books on the market.

But what the good doctor is really talking about is mindfulness. And the benefits of being mindful when caring for one of your most precious resources. If we aren't sleeping, other things will stop working, too.

I am not an insomniac. In fact, after reading the book I realized I get more sleep than I thought. I am grateful for that. But I am also not caring for my body as much as I could. The connections he makes about diet and sleep, about exercise and sleep...none of it is rocket science and yet all of it together makes all the difference.

If sleep is a problem for you, this book may very well help you work it through. One of the things the (rather cute) doctor talks about is quieting your mind before bed. I don't do that. I blog or read or what have you and then expect to fall asleep when my mind is still racing. He suggests giving yourself an hour to do things that are less cerebrally stimulating (hey, that gives me an idea) in order to quiet your mind.

I like that. I tried it. I fell asleep faster after working on it for a few days in a row.

It's a mind-body-spirit deal. We need to feed all of our parts or we'll suffer for it. If you suffer from a lack of sleep, you owe it to yourself to do more than take a pill.

The Sleep Doctor is in.