Posted by: Greta Jaeger | November 5, 2009

Taking care of yourself (learning to sleep)

Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together. ~Thomas Dekker

I was fortunate enough to take a stress management class in my thirties. I know amazing a class on how to manage your stress; we should all get a class like this in high school. My class project was to learn how to sleep, at this point in my life I slept around 2-4 hours a night. I was in graduate school at the time and studying with limited sleep can be a challenge. I often fell asleep on my books. I could not turn my brain off at night and get a restful sleep.

Insomnia is a gross feeder. It will nourish itself on any kind of thinking, including thinking about not thinking. ~Clifton Fadiman

The ability to quite our thinking and sleep is incredibly important and helps us stay mentally healthy. I took my project seriously and put together a plan and committed to it for eight weeks. If you have sleep problems because you can not quite your thoughts this plan will help tremendously. Here it is:

1. Remember your bed is for sleeping or sex nothing else.
2. No watching T.V. in bed
3. No reading in bed
4. Avoid caffeine after 10:00am or 11:00am
5. Do some light anaerobic exercise about thirty minutes to an hour before bed i.e. sit ups, push ups or stretching
6. When you lay down to sleep take three to four slow deep breaths
7. If you don’t fall asleep within ten to fifteen minutes of laying down then get out of bed and do something relaxing ten to fifteen minutes (meditate, stretch or sit quietly) don’t read.
8. After the ten to fifteen minutes get back into bed and take three to four deep breathes.
9. If you don’t fall asleep again in ten to fifteen minutes then repeat number 6 and 7 until you do fall asleep. (most people when first learning this only have to repeat the cycle three to four times and then they fall asleep).

The point of a plan like the one above is to retrain your brain and body to think of the bed as a place to sleep. This plan will help all but the worst insomniacs; you will learn to quite your mind and fall asleep naturally. Unless you have a medical reason keeping you awake (i.e. sleep apnea) if this is a possibility please seek medical attention right away. I have helped many clients learn to sleep again with this plan.

Please send any questions to:
Please put in the subject line “Question for Coach Greta” or leave a comment on my blog and I will get back to you.

Greta Jaeger, PLC, LPC


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