What Are Your Sleep Goals?
5 Tips to Optimise your Sleep for Wellbeing and Performance
My sleep goals change all the time. At times I’m optimising my sleep habits to support active lucid dreaming, at other times it’s exploring hypnagogic dreams (the transitionary state you enter into and out of between sleep and waking) and then at other times it’s more about day to day performance and wellbeing, which of course includes getting effective rest and recovery.
At the moment, I’m optimizing my sleep for 6.5 hours per night (minimum recommended amount of sleep without compromising health and longevity), whilst ensuring I get sufficient deep sleep and REM sleep, so that I can get the most from my waking state (working on my mission). Over and above the many good sleep hygiene practices that you can read on many different sleep hygiene google searches, here are some of the things that I’ve found that support my current goal:
5 tips that I’ve found to be really helpful for me.
- Working on my unresolved emotional wounds. We all have emotional baggage (peak emotional experiences from adolescence, that are fueling patterns of thinking and behaving). Whilst some of these wounds/patterns we might be aware of, many of these patterns are unconscious. Within the iAMconnected platform we’ve built in the functionality to support our members and clients to identify what these wounds are and effectively process them. This calms the mind and releases the peak emotion that was trapped in the psyche and therefore supports that natural flow in and out of sleep.
- Do a 36 hour water fast, one day a week. I find fasting such a great way to recalibrate resting heart rate and heart rate variability (two key indicators of underlying stress). This indicates that whilst it can feel stressful on the mind to fast, the body and central nervous system actually love periodic fasts. Lowering stress levels in the body, supports sleep and recovery. 16:8 intermittent fasting (16 hr fast, 8 hr eating window) is another great way to allow the body plenty of time to recover.
- Meditate. Learning to observe the mind is key in elevating our consciousness. Whilst our attention is consumed by the narrative that permeates our attention, we are essentially modern day slaves under the control of that internal voice. 22 years of meditation practice (learning to understand what that voice is), one of the things I’ve learned is that nothing is more important than learning to observe the voice. Because you are not that voice and as we learn to observe it, then we learn to relate with it in healthy, meaningful ways. And if you’ve ever been kept awake by this voice (anxious thinking), then you’ll know what I mean.
- Learn resonance breathing. The breath is connected to the autonomic nervous system, it is both voluntary and involuntary. By focusing on a 5-6 sec inhale and 5-6 exhale, this is a conscious practice of shifting my state from a fight/flight (sympathetic) to rest/recovery (parasympathetic). I’ve found this a simple, yet very powerful way to take over my biology and have it work for me. Thank you Christophe Tournier for turning me onto this
- Building a relationship with my emotions. At any point during the day, when I feel something significant, I tune in and ask, “What am I feeling? Our emotions are indicators of what is happening in our environment and how our psyche is responding to that. The more intune with them we can be, the more adept we are able to manage our state and relate to our environment. I’ve found that this can also have a flow on effect into our sleep scape.
Oh and of course, we need to be tracking our sleep in order to know what is going on, but not just tracking it, it’s using the data and taking effective action based on what the data is telling us. Most often understanding the data and forming positive habits requires support. Which is part of what I do at iAMconnected.
If you you’d like to discuss your sleep goals, please use the following link to find a time to connect us so that we can chat