Jun 10, 2010
Napoleon Hill, in his classic book, Think and Grow Rich, details the mindset changes that are necessary to achieve success at life, accomplish goals, and live a life of abundance. In a similar way, your ability to obtain quality and refreshing sleep also requires changes in how you think about sleep before you take the necessary physical steps.
Sleep Better, Live Better
Numerous research studies have shown that a good night’s rest is vital when it comes to your ability to focus, concentrate, remember, be creative, and various other mental and cognitive abilities. Your athletic abilities are also enhanced significantly when you sleep well. Needless to say, consistent, high-quality, refreshing, rejuvenating sleep can enhance almost every aspect of your emotional, mental, physical, sexual, and spiritual live. Unfortunately, in our fast-pased, information-driven, stress-filled modern lives, sleep is the first thing that’s sacrificed when we have too much work to do. The common corollary to getting that promotion or making more money is to work harder, and longer, and in the process, forgo even the most basic necessities. Forgoing a balanced meal, and substituting fast food instead, and sleeping less to work more, becomes the habituated norm for the success minded. Nonetheless, how can you enjoy the fruits of your success if you’re so tired and sick all the time?
Reasons For Your Sleep Deficit
Sleep deprivation can be so insidious and cumulative that you may not realize that your depression or anxiety may be from months or years of chronic low-grade levels of poor quality or quantity of sleep. Not only are we not getting enough sleep, our sleep quality has diminished significantly in modern times. In my book, Sleep, Interrupted, I explain how due to major changes in our diets and with the addition of bottle-feeding, our jaws are much more narrow with dental crowding. Smaller jaws leads to smaller breathing passageways, especially when we’re on our backs and in deep sleep (due to muscle relaxation). This leads to various degrees of partial to full obstruction, disrupting deep sleep, and preventing you from getting restorative, refreshing, and rejuvenating sleep.
Sleep Well and Prosper
Here are 5 habit and mindset changes that will help you to begin your journey towards a better nights’ sleep today.
1. Make an appointment with yourself at bedtime. If you had an important job interview or meeting, would you ever come late because you had some work left to do or you wanted to finish watching your TV show? Think of sleep as an appointment that’s just as important as an important meeting. Dr. Mao of AskDoctorMao.com recommends setting an alarm to go to sleep, as well as for waking up.
2. Plan your activities well during the day so that you can fall asleep quickly and stay asleep. What you do during the day has significant effects on how well you sleep at night. Exercising in the morning exposed to early morning sunshine can strengthen your internal sleep clock. Eating healthy meals with lots of fiber and multi-colored vegetables will not only keep you regular, it can also affect the the type of foods that you’ll crave, since your appetite, weight and sleep are all inter-related.
3. Set SMART goals. Commit yourself to goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, reasonable, and timely. Rather than just saying, "I want to sleep better," say something like, "I’m going to eat 3 hours before (8PM) going to bed (at 11PM) for the next 7 days," or "I will get up at 6 AM to jog 3 miles on Tuesday and Thursdays for 4 weeks. Yes, getting better sleep is your bigger goal, but it’s easier to succeed if you break it down into small bite-sized chunks that have SMART features.
4. Be mindful of how well you sleep in relation to your diet, activities, and your sleep times. The best way to is document this by writing everything down in a sleep journal. Short of doing this, be more aware of how you feel in the morning or during the day after you went out to have a late dinner, or during the weeks when you exercise. Which foods make you feel better and which make you feel more tired or sluggish? Bare minimum, make a quick mental note of how well you slept when you first wake up and how you felt during the day as you’re about to fall asleep.
5. Unclutter your mind just before you sleep. Turn off all forms of electronic stimulation such as your computer, TV, and radio at least one hour before you go to sleep. Watching the news is the worst thing you can do, since not only is it stimulating, but also disturbing stories and images that you don’t want cluttering up your subconscious during sleep. Read a relaxing book, do some light stretching, breathing or meditation before going to bed.
There are plenty more tips I could list here for you, but all of this is a moot point if you can’t breathe properly at night while you’re sleeping. Any by definition, all modern humans are susceptible to breathing problems while sleeping to various degrees. This is the one major flaw with Western medicine as well as alternative and complementary forms of healing. Everyone naturally assumes that you’re able to breathe properly at night. But this is not true. You can do everything I listed in this article, as well as every sleep hygiene recommendation that’s mentioned in thousands of books, articles, and reports, but if you’re not able to breathe well, you can only get so far. Lack of inspiration can definitely hinder your brain’s ability to think at all, let alone sleep or grow rich. Something to think about.
Steven Y. Park, MD is a surgeon and author of the book, Sleep, Interrupted: A physician reveals the #1 reason why so many of us are sick and tired. Endorsed by New York Times best-selling authors Christiane Northrup, M.D., Dean Ornish, M.D., Mark Liponis, M.D., Mary Shomon, and many others. http://doctorstevenpark.com