Staring at the ceiling at 2 in the morning. You’re blinking, and yet those blinks don’t seem to be fading into an eyes closed, relaxed situation, ready for sleep.
Maybe you just can’t stop thinking about what’s happening at work tomorrow?
For whatever reason, you just can’t seem to get a full nights sleep. You can’t remember the last time you woke up and felt 100% full of energy ready to jump into the day.
The worst part?
You don’t know why the hell this is happening.
It’s one thing to have a problem with an idea of how to fix it. It’s much more frustrating not knowing what to do.
Solution? We learn to de-stress in the way that works for us.
So where is our stress coming from?
Why do we need to get control of it, and HOW!
It’s a much more complicated lifestyle we experience these days.
Longer work hours, and increased technology demands that want every last second of our attention.
The pressure placed on us as a society is much greater than “The good ol’ days” as our parents would say.
Stress levels reaching an all time high.
You might be wondering why this is related to getting an amazing sleep?
Well, let’s look how stress levels and sleep are related shall we.
[Insert Impressive Visual]…
Oh, there it is..
What you see above is what sends information to our brain and body. The more stimulated we are mentally, the more stimulated our body becomes.
Now this is great when you want to get really excited about something and your wide awake.
When your head hits the pillow, not so much.
So, how do we “de-stimulate”?
1. Eat 2-3 hours before bed
If you’re eating within this time frame the result could be huge for quality of sleep.
Your body is trying to digest food while you’re trying to sleep.
This will increase body temperature which will increase the chances of waking up through the night and generally lower quality of sleep because the brain is sending messages to finish digesting your food while you want it to relax.
Your poor confused brain.
2. No bright lights or screens
Computers, smart phones and the brighter lights in your bedroom/house. The stimulation mentioned will be increased the closer you are to bed time while your senses are still experiencing these things.
Try changing your lights to a lower wattage, lowering the brightness in the settings on your phone/computer (If you must be looking at them right before bed) and ensure your room is pitch black with curtains closed.
3. Write, and write some more
If you’re someone that just can’t stop your mind racing , then writing your thoughts down can be life changing.
It can be very effective in de-cluttering your thoughts from the day, even therapeutic some say.
Most people learn through movement and the things they experience visually.
When writing, you are doing both and this can allow you to literally take the stressful thoughts of the day, out of your mind, and onto the paper.
4. Contract. Relax.
When our mind is in this stimulated state, remember it is sending the messages to our entire body, so this can create tension in muscular areas of your body without you being aware.
A great trick to change this and prepare your body for rest is to simply squeeze your entire body, every muscle in your body, for 5 seconds, and release. Repeat 5 times at least.
If you were holding extra tension you were unaware of, you should experience a greater feeling of relaxation, simply because you’re more aware of it.
Magnesium is a proven muscle relaxant, and also proven to improve joint strength in the body assisting with the prevention of arthritis and increasing your awesomeness levels by 362 points…LOL.
Aside from the western world, this is extremely common and also scientifically proven to reduce stress and improve cognitive thinking ability.
Some studies have shown 8 straight weeks of meditation have shown an increase of grey matter in the hippocampus of the brain.
Basically, this means your creative thinking and mental capacity could improve.
In the western world meditation tends to be misunderstood, or not understood at all.
All your simply aiming at doing is sitting upright for 10-20 minutes, being in that moment, no other moment and being aware of what’s going on in the body.
The main objective is to simply lower the stimulation that’s occurring in your brain.
Which is keeping you awake.
If you haven’t tried it, like anything, you need a good week or two before it will be effective and you improve at relaxing your thoughts.
A smart phone app called “1 Giant Mind” is completely free and a great introduction to the technique in a simple and effective way.
How is this related to my health?
Sleep cannot be substituted and is shown to effect hormone levels, which controls your bodies ability to burn fat.
In saying that, stress in general is doing the same thing.
It’s important to think ahead and be aware that the less quality sleep you’re getting, the more stressful every day will be for you in any situation.
What we don’t want to do is see it rise and rise until we get to the point where it’s effecting not only our ability to lose weight, thrive and feel great about our bodies, but our ability to function from day to day in a positive, empowered way.
Did you learn anything new?
We want to know.
Give us feedback in what helped and what else could help that you’re struggling with.
We’re here to help.
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To your best Health & Success,
EMB Head Coach – Darren Bruce