Archive of ‘Sleep Tools’ category

7 Natural Alternatives to Sleeping Tablets

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When you wake up in the morning, your tone for the day is already set. The mood you wake up in will typically determine the quality of your day.

But what determines the mood you wake up in? It’s the quality of your sleep. We spend so much time and money enhancing our diet and fitness, but improving our sleep can be the single most important thing we do. Optimizing our sleep can revolutionize the quality of our life.

Improving your sleep can involve a number of steps, but here are 7 simple tips to a better night’s sleep – drug-free.

Change your values around sleep

In the west, we place a very high value on doing (rather than being). We often consider sleep to be a waste of time. However, it is during sleep that we heal and rejuvenate. Of course, while we are asleep we are not conscious to know what is going on. If we were, we would probably put sleep up as our number one priority.

While we sleep, we produce human growth hormone which keeps us young, as well as an array of hormones that make us feel happy and motivated the next day. Our brains are also effectively “cleaned out”, so we are on the top of our game cognitively the following day.

If we truly understood this, we would probably place quality sleep at the top of our list. By valuing sleep, we begin to prioritize it, and we do things better when we prioritize them.
Start to value sleep, rather than seeing it as a time burner.

Learn to read your stress signals

I have so many clients coming to me saying that they don’t believe their sleep struggles are stress-related, but when we look at their physiology, all of the signs of stress are there. If we have elevated stress levels every day, we may feel normal, even though our nervous system is saying something else.

We need to personally be aware of how stress manifests in our physiology so that we know when you are stressed.

Do you have short shallow breaths into your upper chest, or do you have long slow deep breaths into your lower abdomen? Do you have tight muscles, or loose, relaxed muscles? Do you hunch over or do you have a flexible and upright posture?

If you answered the former rather than the later to any of these questions, chances are you have elevated stress or anxiety levels. Lowering your stress and/or anxiety levels will help you to sleep better. But the first step in this process is knowing when you are stressed or anxious, so:

Learn to read your physiology so you are actually aware of when you are stressed or anxious.

Step into your Feminine

The daytime is more closely tied to our masculine energy – doing and achieving. It is the time we activate our sympathetic nervous system. At night, in order to sleep, we need to activate our parasympathetic nervous system – which is associated with the feminine (relaxation, simply being, etc)

The parasympathetic nervous system is connected to our “rest, digest and reproduce” functions. If we are still in fight or flight, we cannot drift off into a peaceful rejuvenating sleep. Regardless of whether we are male or female, we need to step into the softer feminine energy at night, in order to succumb to sleep.
Learn to let go and surrender, especially before bedtime.

Connect to Yourself

When mind, body, and spirit are out of alignment, it is very difficult to fall asleep. Connecting to yourself and living in alignment with your truth will help you not only to sleep more easily but will help you to achieve a better quality sleep.
Take a moment to be still, reflect on your day, and release any tension you are holding onto.  Where in your life are you living in misalignment with your higher purpose and values?

Get into a Whole Brain State

It is much easier to fall asleep when our left and right hemispheres of the brain are integrated. Most of us have a dominant left brain so we need to do more activities to activate the right hemisphere of the brain as well. This includes getting out of our routine and doing new activities, as well as activities which utilise the imagination. Children drift off to sleep with a nice bed time story.  They can be very creative, and it truly helps.
Try activating the right hemisphere of your brain by doing something creative before bed.

Most of us curl up when we go to bed. What we may not realize is that we are putting our body into a fight or flight posture. Studies show that when we are in fear, we automatically go into the fetal position.

If we go to sleep in this position, we may be signaling to our nervous system that we are in fight or flight, and that it is not safe to go to sleep. Starting tonight, try to sleep with an open posture instead. It can take some time to get used to, but in the long term, it helps.
Open up the lung area, so that you can take nice deep breaths.

Take a Smile to Bed

Experiment with different strategies that help you to get to sleep at night. Have one prepared – that you know works – so that you’re not lying there planning the next day. Different strategies work for different people. Find something that helps you switch off from the day and helps you to shift your state to something you find pleasant and relaxing. Whichever strategy you find, do it with a smile.

We are more likely to have positive thoughts if we have a smile on our face. This helps us to nod off faster.
Put a smile on your dial in bed.

There is so much more to sleep than the commonly written about topics of sleep hygiene (ie the sleep habits and “rules”) and the common answer of meditation/mindfulness. The tips in this article are just the tip of the iceberg. We are all unique. In order to create lasting and deep changes to your sleep, you will get the best results by working directly with your own sleep expert. Your sleep expert will work with you one on one to eradicate your sleep issues – so that you feel great and live to your true potential.

NEED MORE HELP?
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World Sleep Day 2017: Sleep Soundly, Nurture Life

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Sleep comes naturally for all of us, so much so that we humans spend one third of our entire life sleeping. That means, if we live to be 75 years old and we’re sleeping at least 8 hours a day, 25 years of that is spent sleeping.

But has sleep really been given much importance or has it taken the sidelines and for some, maybe even considered just an option and no longer a necessity?

We’re past the era when people knew very little about the importance of sleep or what happens during sleep and have gone from thinking sleep was a form of death to actually being able to document different brain cycles during sleep – and yet we’re sleeping lesser or not at all either because of sleep issues or by choice.

Because of the significance of sleep in our physical, mental and emotional well-being, it is important that we don’t let sleep be just a nighttime ritual behind closed doors, but an open subject for all to discuss and celebrate and even share with others.

With people sleeping over an hour less than what we did 100 years ago, we have an epidemic of partial sleep deprivation in western society. This is finally being recognised. People are beginning to understand that sleep health is just as important, if not more important, than diet and exercise.  

Sleep Celebration

World Sleep Day is an annual event, intended to be a celebration of sleep and a call to action on important issues related to sleep, including medicine, education, social aspects and driving. It is organised by the World Sleep Day Committee of World Sleep Society and aims to lessen the burden of sleep problems on society through better prevention and management of sleep disorders. As of 2016, World Sleep Day had a total of 394 delegates in 72 countries around the globe. Source

This year, World Sleep Day will be celebrated on March 17, 2017 (today!) all over the world and will echo the message of “Sleep Soundly, Nurture Life.”

Celebrate Sleep Your Way

You don’t necessarily have to be a delegate to help spread the good message of sleep throughout the world, you can be a Sleep Ambassador in your own simple way and you can start with prioritising and improving your own sleep.

Here’s how you can help celebrate World Sleep Day:

  1. Check the quality of your sleep: are you waking up refreshed and rejuvenated or are you waking up groggy and with low energy? A good night’s sleep is comparable to charging your batteries to make you fully-charged to start another day. If you don’t sleep well, don’t  buy into the myth that there is nothing that you can do, and that you just have to “put up with it”
  2. Become aware of what affects the quality and duration of your sleep.  What does and doesn’t work for you? Don’t just look at your sleep habits – but what are you doing during the day that affects your sleep at night? If you can’t figure it out or need some help it might be time for a trip to a Sleep Coach.
  3. Be a living testament of good sleep: Waking up on the wrong side of the bed is an expression which might be linked to not being able to sleep soundly thereby affecting your mood and quality of life. If you get enough quality sleep, you’re affecting the world around you with your positivity and vibrance. Sleep more so you can smile more and live longer!

World Sleep Day is a celebration every first Friday of March but that doesn’t mean sleep should only be celebrated then. Sleep should be celebrated everyday and you can start now!

Good night and sleep tight! Don’t let the bedbugs bite!

Why I hit the snooze button on social media

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If you’ve been following my blog or any of my social media accounts, then you would have noticed I was quiet for over a year. I know, that was quite some time right, but believe me, every minute was time well spent.

I always love to learn and expand my horizon and improve my skills and person; and last year, I did exactly that. I spent a lot of time in the US to study the latest in neuroscience, brainwave entrainment and holistic healing.

I believe that when you enable people to sleep, you wake them up to their full potential. I would like to be able to help more people – not just through face to face sessions – but to extend it to those I can’t reach physically. So my goal last year was to find awesome ways to take the sleep program to people across the globe, and have it be just as effective as those I work with in person.

Whilst hundreds more people have been through the sleep program in the last year, and are now sleeping well again, I took some time out of social media and blogging.  During this year of sleeping on social media, I gained new learnings, new experiences and new tools to add to my kit and even a new and wider direction for My Sleep Coach. We also ran our first international sleep retreat – which was a resounding success – with plenty more to come.

I am so excited to share with you how my past year has been spent but even more excited of the new things to come!

Here are a few snapshots of how I spent last year and the people I had the awesome chance to work with:

Holistic healing

Learned holistic healing and brainwave entrainment from the amazing Dr Jeffrey Thompson, and spent time with his girlfriend Louise Hay

Anodea Judith

With the wonderful Anodea Judith while studying the latest in trauma release

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Learning the energy system of the body with Dr Joe Dispenza

Aside from the above learnings, I also studied how to “de-armor” the body or remove the layers of tension in the body that build up over time with stress. I learned some fascinating techniques used in shamanic traditions. These and more are what I’ve been busy with and will definitely start to incorporate in my sessions moving forward.  

My social media sabbatical also allowed me time to work on my new sleep e-course, which is going to be launched very soon so be on the look-out for that! 🙂

The new year is bringing in so many new things for me and so I am sharing them with you as well so we all can have longer and more restful nights this 2017!

Sleep tight my sleep peeps and don’t let the bedbugs bite! 🙂

The Best Sleep Apps to Download on Your Mobile Phone

Ever wondered which of the hundreds of sleep-related mobile phone apps are worth the hype? We’ve sampled some of the most talked-about sleep apps and can recommend five worth downloading for a better night’s sleep!

For Tracking Sleep: Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock

Sleep Cycle is widely regarded as the best app for tracking sleep. When you’re ready to sleep, open the app, set your desired wake-up time, and place your mobile phone on your mattress not too far from your pillow. If it’s your first time using the app, there are instructions you can walk through to test the optimal placement of your phone for tracking sleep.

While you sleep, the Sleep Cycle app utilizes the iPhone accelerometer to sense your movement throughout the night and determine which sleep state you’re in at a given time. It will wake you up with an alarm within the 30 minutes before your desired wake-up time at the point of lightest sleep – i.e. when you feel the most rested and ready to be awake again.

There are several graphs and stats you can use to monitor your sleeping habits, including when you moved from deep sleep to light sleep throughout the night, how long you spent in bed, and your sleep quality (how well you slept, based on your movements and duration of sleep). If you want to find out whether you’re a good sleeper, this app will point you in the right direction!

Best Sleep Apps: Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock Best Sleep Apps: Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock

For Napping: Sleep Cycle Power Nap

Brought to you by the same folks at Sleep Cycle, their new Sleep Cycle Power Nap app aims to wake you up from your nap before you fall into deep sleep. It uses the same technology as the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock, detecting your movement to infer which sleep stage you’re in. You can choose from 3 different nap types: 20 minutes, 45 minutes, or one full sleep cycle – all of which will wake you up in a light sleep phase.

Note: If you’re downloading the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock app, you might as well splurge on the Sleep Cycle bundle: 3 apps for $2.99 (Sleep Cycle, Sleep Cycle Power Nap, and Sleep Cycle heart rate).

For Falling Asleep: Sleep Pillow Sounds

A mega-popular phone app with thousands of rave reviews and featured by the likes of BBC and the Wall Street Journal, Sleep Pillow Sounds has been coined “the app that helps the world sleep”. With 70 different ambient sounds arranged in 300,000 different combinations, this app claims to create a very relaxed environment. You can experiment with the sounds and see what works for you – even create your own mix of sounds to help to lull you to sleep.

Sleep Pillow Sounds also comes with a sleep timer, which turns the sound off after a specified amount of time, and an alarm clock, helping you to both fall asleep and wake up.

Note: The free version of this app is very limited in both sounds and capabilities, so to get the best out of it we recommend you upgrade to the pro version for $1.99.

Best Sleep Apps: Sleep Pillow Best Sleep Apps: Sleep Pillow

For Waking Up: Alarm Clock Sleep Sounds Free

Don’t let the name fool you: this app also aids in guiding you to sleep with its meditation and brainwave sound recordings. Its main strength is in its alarm clock, though, with several different wake-up programs designed to ease you into wakefulness. Wouldn’t you rather wake up calmly to the sound of wind chimes, instead of being jolted awake by a generic blaring alarm? Thanks to the Alarm Clock Sleep Sounds Free app, now you can!

For Insomnia: Insomnia Cure

If you’re serious about kicking insomnia to the curb the natural way (i.e. without sleeping tablets), give the Insomnia Cure app a go. It’s only worth it if you’re willing to invest the time in learning and practicing better sleep through this insomnia treatment program, but if you are you’ll have lots of resources at your disposal within the app, including:

  • Relaxation sleep sessions (wave recordings to help you relax and fall asleep)
  • A 40 page ebook by Max Kirsten, renowned hypnotherapist
  • Sleep fact cards (tips for better sleep)

Best Sleep Apps: Insomnia Cure Best Sleep Apps: Insomnia Cure