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.


Susanne said...

Sleep, ah. How can one get more sleep than one knows?

My only problem is that I'm getting to bed too late. Hence not enough sleep. Somehow lately other things seem to be more important but then I find myself sluggish with a mushy brain...

acumamakiki said...

I have to read to quiet my mind (only fiction) otherwise I just lay there tossing.

All things considered, I sleep really well. I have noticed being in my 40's has made me more sensitive so food and drink or just booze on it's own, really doesn't agree with my REM and I sleep really shitty on those nights I've porked out, drank too much or both.

The other sleep deterrent is a woman's montly cycle which will wreak havoc on sleep - too hot, sweating, brain not turning off.....

I'd say a good 60% of my patients that come to see me have sleep issues as a secondary complaint and almost always, after 4 weeks of consistent acupuncture, they'll be sleeping better.

Hel said...

I agree with not working for an hour before sleep. But my unfinished assignments and hiding minutes have different ideas :)

For me sleep reflects my life. If I no longer agree with what happens during my days my nights start diagreeing with me also.

That said insomnia is a powerful ally to me. She forces me into a space of honesty.

crazymumma said...

mr mumma has been saying for years that if I just ....well you physical before bed IN bed, I would sleep much better.

ahem. anyhooooo.....great review. I will check it out!

theflyingmum said...

I travel for a living and deal with jet lag on a regular basis. i have devised some tricks (methods?) that help me quiet my mind. Because, yes, you can't sleep with a mind that is racing around the house, hotel room, or blogosphere. A game: any inane number or word game will do - mine is matching the names of famous people to their initials. In my mind, there are 2 columns. The first column is a-z, alphabetically. The second column is all one letter - the same letter all the way down. So you have:
etc. What famous person has the initials A.C.? B.C.? and so on. Vary the last initial when you've made it through the entire alphabet.
Also, valerian extract, and Bach Rescue Remedy. And Traditional Medicinals Nighty Night tea.

mothergoosemouse said...

"inability to quiet the mind" - you said it. That was my problem ever since childhood. It took years of "practice" to fall asleep (and stay asleep) with relative ease. I still can't fall asleep as fast as Kyle (damn him - snoring within 15 seconds of hitting the pillow).

mamatulip said...

I have to let my brain settle down or else I can't settle down enough to sleep. Usually I read or lie with my eyes closed and listen to the television on low. You wouldn't think that would help me settle my brain, but it does. ;)

The Sleep Doctor said...

Thanks for the review! It's good to see people in a dialogue about sleep.

Jocelyn said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog--I'm glad now to have discovered yours.

Sleep was my best friend until I had kids. And, lawsy, but they are not sleepers. Okay, the 6 year old is, but the 4 year old is in a phase of night terrors, which means that I, too, am missing out on some important REM time. Sigh.

I will be really interested to read about your progression and to find out if the tips in the book help you long-term.

So what kinds of things are non-brain-stimulating in that hour before bed for you?

Penny. said...

I'm going to have to read that book. Isn't it crazy how well we could all sleep in highschool, how easily, how lengthly, how uninterruptedly.. until now..

rdl said...

i take it taking a nap from 10-11 in yr. clothes then getting up and having cereal and cruising the blogs before you brush yr. teeth and get in yr. pj's is not recommended then?
nice review.