HEALTHY SLEEPING HABITS - part two
Welcome back to the “Healthy Sleeping Habits” exploration!
In this sequel we are looking at other meaningful healthy sleeping habits you can implement in your everyday life, and we are also going to discuss the value of the waking up process and power naps. If you are new to this blog, click https://www.idreamhypnotherapy.com/post/sleepy-saturdays to read the first part of the Healthy Sleeping Habits series.
So, let's dive into the second part.
1. “HAPPY GRANNY”
Photo by Ekaterina Shakharova on Unsplash
* Alcohol, tobacco, marihuana, coffee, and other chemicals (that interfere with sleep) affect sleep and dreaming negatively! They suppress REM sleep, affecting stages of deep sleep.
* Staying away from caffeine from 2 pm onwards is recommended. It is well-known that caffeine has a stimulant effect on the body and brain, helping you feeling more alert and energised, and in small amounts is not harmful to humans, but in high amounts can be very harmful and can also lead to sleeping disorders like insomnia.
The half-life of caffeine is around 5 hours, meaning that after a cup of coffee at 6pm, an individual will still have half the caffeine left in their body at 11pm, and a quarter at 4am, disrupting sleep. Individuals vary in their reaction to caffeine, so the half-life could be much longer or shorter than the 5 hours. Read more here.
You can find caffeine in many drinks and also foods, starting with caffeinated drinks such as coffee and tea, and also soft drinks such as cola and ‘energy drinks’, some types of ice cream and cakes.
* Avoiding stressful activities too close to bedtime, and if you practice any exercise late in the afternoon or evening, make sure that you allow at least 3 hours from the time you finish the exercise until your bedtime, to give your body time to unwind naturally and prepare for a restful sleep.
* It’s recommended to stop watching any television or use any technology at least 30 min before bedtime, to help you transition to sleep naturally.
* Expose yourself to natural sunlight, especially in the mornings, for at least 15 min. And for those that live in Scotland, like me, or in other countries with reduced sunlight, please take advantage of every ray of sunshine you can get.
2. WAKING UP
It’s an important factor as it helps you to have a gentle and healthy re-entry in your day-to-day life, allowing you to check in with yourself and it’s also a vital component in dream recall. Because nothing fades faster a dream, than waking up too quickly!
- wake up slowly and motionlessly.
- don’t move too much.
- don’t open your eyes.
- lie completely still.
- remain relaxed.
- avoid any abrupt movements.
- allow yourself time to remember the dream you just had.
In my native country the saying goes that when you wake up in the morning you should avoid looking towards the window because it will take your dream away! And it proved to be true so many times.
- don’t get caught up in daily responsibilities just yet, there is plenty of time later to organise the day, the kids, the family life, the job, the business.
This is your time, nobody wanting anything, nobody asking anything, your time to be checking-in with yourself, with your dreams, have a gentle and smooth entrance into the world again. It’s a new awakening, make it worthy.
- let your mind drift back to your dreams and recall everything you can, even if memories are tiny fragments.
- sleep positions are important to consider for a better dream recall.
If you experience a memory blockade, try switching positions, lie on your side, roll onto your back, go to your stomach, do so slowly! Easier to recall the dream, if we lie in the same position we were when we had the dream.
- bed positions are also a factor to contemplate on.
In my childhood, my grandmother used to remind us all the time that the best position for us to sleep was with the head towards the direction North and if that wasn’t possible, the next best one is East. All my life I have respected this advice and it always worked.
And for those of you a bit sceptical, let me tell you that I did put that to test. My husband and I experimented with this idea for several months. We positioned our bed towards each of the four directions, for a few weeks in row and observed our sleep and dreams.
And let me tell you… the direction South, in particular, gave me some very weird dreams and very tired nights! Now, that can be anything you might say, but for me observing constantly my sleep and dreams, I felt a huge difference!
3. POWER NAPS
If you love to take naps during the day, either because you are just looking to complete your sleep hours, or because you are used to them ever since you were a child, like me, or because you are aware of the benefits it brings you when it comes to creativity, focus, concentration and mood, please make sure that your naps are not too close to your regular bedtime hour.
In this category I want to include something else that I’ve noticed is important to me and it influences a lot my dreams, and that is a special place in my house where I’ve noticed my dreams are very vivid, lucidity is boosted, and I experience a very strong dream recall. And I call that my power place. That place is my living room, especially the sofa next to the door.
Have you noticed something similar happening to you? Have you ever experienced with different sleeping or napping places in your house? If you have, I would love to hear about it. If you didn’t, but it sounds intriguing, maybe it will spark your interest and you feel you want to give it a try.
I know there are many people who find it difficult to follow all the recommendations and it might be because the temptation to watch another episode of the series you love on Netflix is too great or you might think ‘just 5 more minutes to scroll on social media’ or to catch up with some emails from the week; however, it’s good to mention that you don’t need to do all of them or in that particular order.
Take one of these suggestions, the one that speaks or resonates with you the most, and include that in your everyday life. When that starts to work and you feel the benefits, you can add another one and so forth.
Ultimately, you will find the perfect combination for you, according to your lifestyle and your own needs and desires. Like any new habit that you pick up, this requires time, discipline, and dedication. But the benefits on your mental, emotional, and physical well-being are immeasurable!
In this way you also create a healthy relationship with your dreams and by honouring them they will become your constant companion and most truthful guide!
In next Saturday’s entry we are going to explore more about sleep, and in particular about sleep deprivation, its effects on your body and mind and what you can do about it.
If you want to know more about sleep or exploring your dreams, get in touch with me and we will enjoy a relaxed coffee and chat discussing any issues you might have.
Wishing you a wonderful weekend, beautiful iDreamer!
Mariana - Clinical Hypnotherapist & Dream Seer by birth