I ask this question of all my clients now, because I found that so many people I saw individually and in workshops mentioned poor sleep during the course of discussing other issues, from weight to anxiety, or anger, or chronic pain, etc. I now know that most of my clients have problems getting good sleep, whether or not that’s the issue they come to work on.
I’ve just had a fabulous week of great sleep!
Okay, I think this is an opportunity for one of those “There are two kinds of people . . . .” statements: There are people who, on reading this, will feel a rush of emotions—envy, happy-for-you, irritation, or despair of ever experiencing that feeling of true rest. And there are people who are puzzled and wondering what all the fuss is about.
I suspect more people are in the first group, based on what I hear from clients, and from the CDC’s findings that 50-70% of people suffer from a sleep disorder.
I’ve had a long time to wrestle with getting enough sleep, and along the way I’ve learned a great deal about the kinds of things that can affect my sleep positively or negatively. And of course I’ve read pretty widely on the topic. Most of what I read is in the category of sleep hygiene—the things we can do to ourselves to get better sleep. Here’s a great list from the NIH, by the way.
But I recently read a great article in Scientific American online “The Secret to a Better Night’s Sleep: A sense of purpose?” The article refers to a study done at Northwestern University School of Medicine. Here’s a statement from the study report’s conclusion: “a higher level of meaning and purpose in life among older adults is related to better sleep quality and appears to be protective against symptoms of sleep apnea and RLS.”
How cool is that?
In my practice, I’ve been incorporating a focus on values with every client, initially because of studies like this one—studies confirming that when we focus on our values, we are more likely to experience positive progress toward the changes we want to see in our lives. And it’s truly transformative, I’m finding.
We can learn how to get better sleep, one step at a time, as we make simple changes to our environment, our behavior, and how we think about ourselves. It doesn’t sound simple, but I assure you, it doesn’t have to be hard.
I’m excited about this topic, and about what I’ve been learning about the science of sleep. One of my current projects is putting together a hypnosis workshop about how to craft your own great sleep experience. Stay tuned for more info.
And Happy New Year! I wish you great sleep in the coming year.