Sleeping Tips - What Are Your Sleep Goals?
5 Sleeping Tips to Optimise your Wellbeing and Performance
As a sleep enthusiast, I’m always on the lookout for ways to improve my sleep habits. My sleep goals change all the time depending on my current needs. At times, I focus on optimizing my sleep habits to support active lucid dreaming, while at other times, I explore hypnagogic dreams – the transitionary state between sleep and waking. But most importantly, I always ensure that my sleep supports my day-to-day performance and overall well-being, which includes getting effective rest and recovery.
My current goal is to get 6.5 hours of sleep per night while ensuring sufficient deep sleep and REM sleep to maximize my waking state. Here are five sleeping tips that have helped me achieve this goal:
Here are five sleeping tips that have helped me optimize my sleep for better health and performance:
1. Process Emotional Wounds
Emotional baggage, such as unresolved emotional wounds and peak emotional experiences from adolescence, can fuel patterns of thinking and behavior that impact our sleep. Although some of these wounds/patterns may be conscious, many are unconscious. Therefore, it’s crucial to identify and effectively process them to calm the mind and release the peak emotion that was trapped in the psyche. Doing so supports the natural flow in and out of sleep.
At iAMconnected, we’ve built functionality to support our members and clients to identify what these wounds are and effectively process them. Our platform provides resources and guidance to help you identify your emotional wounds and learn how to process them effectively.
2. Do a 36-Hour Water Fast
I find fasting to be an effective way to recalibrate my resting heart rate and heart rate variability – two key indicators of underlying stress. Although fasting can feel stressful on the mind, the body and central nervous system actually love periodic fasts. Lowering stress levels in the body supports sleep and recovery.
If you’re new to fasting, consider starting with a 36-hour water fast, one day a week. You can gradually increase the duration or frequency as you become more comfortable with the practice. Another alternative is 16:8 intermittent fasting, where you fast for 16 hours and have an 8-hour eating window. This approach allows the body plenty of time to recover.
Meditation is a powerful tool for elevating our consciousness and improving our relationship with our internal voice. Learning to observe the mind is key in understanding our thoughts and emotions. When our attention is consumed by the narrative that permeates our attention, we become slaves under the control of that internal voice.
After 22 years of meditation practice, one of the most important things I’ve learned is the significance of observing our thoughts. As we learn to observe them, we can relate to them in healthy and meaningful ways. And if you’ve ever been kept awake by anxious thinking, then you’ll know what I mean.
Meditation is a practice of quieting the mind and observing our thoughts. This practice is helpful in preparing the mind for sleep, especially if you’ve had a stressful day. You can start with a guided meditation or simply focus on your breath for a few minutes each day.
4. Learn Resonance Breathing
Breathing is a simple yet powerful tool that can help you regulate your emotions and promote relaxation. Resonance breathing, also known as coherent breathing, involves inhaling and exhaling at a slow and steady pace, typically for five to six seconds per breath. By consciously slowing down your breath, you can activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which helps to calm your body and promote feelings of relaxation.
Resonance breathing can be particularly helpful for those who struggle with anxiety or insomnia. In fact, research has shown that practicing resonance breathing for just a few minutes each day can help to reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality.
To practice resonance breathing, find a quiet and comfortable place to sit or lie down. Close your eyes and begin to breathe in and out through your nose, taking long, slow, and deep breaths. As you inhale, count to five or six in your head, and then exhale for the same amount of time. Continue this pattern for several minutes, focusing on the sensation of your breath as it moves in and out of your body.
5. Build a Relationship with Your Emotions
Emotions are a natural part of being human, but many of us struggle to effectively manage them. Ignoring or suppressing your emotions can lead to increased stress and anxiety, while acknowledging and addressing them can help you feel more in control and improve your overall well-being.
One effective way to build a healthy relationship with your emotions is to practice emotional awareness. Throughout the day, take time to check in with yourself and identify how you’re feeling. Are you anxious? Stressed? Happy? Sad? Once you’ve identified your emotions, take a few moments to reflect on why you might be feeling that way. By acknowledging your emotions and exploring their underlying causes, you can learn to better manage them and respond in a more constructive way.
Building a relationship with your emotions can also have a positive impact on your sleep. By understanding and addressing the root causes of your stress or anxiety, you can reduce the likelihood of racing thoughts or other sleep disturbances that can interfere with a good night’s rest.
In conclusion, optimizing our sleep habits is essential for achieving our daily goals and overall well-being. Whether it’s for lucid dreaming, hypnagogic dreams, or day-to-day performance, getting sufficient deep and REM sleep is vital. The five sleeping tips discussed here have been helpful to me in achieving my current goal of 6.5 hours of sleep per night while maintaining good sleep quality. Processing emotional wounds, fasting, meditating, practicing resonance breathing, and building a relationship with our emotions are all excellent ways to support our natural flow in and out of sleep. Additionally, tracking our sleep data and taking effective action based on it can help us form positive habits.
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