The Sleep Prescription

This is from the Health Sparks newsletter from Learning Strategies Corporation. I thought it had some good advice and perspective, just passing it on.

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Welcome to Health Sparks
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The longer days of summer can mean an uptick in energy for many, along with increased levels of activity. The result: more work and play—and less rest.

But don’t let that extra daylight rob you of your sleep!

Adequate sleep is essential for optimal mental, emotional, and physical health—not to mention your happiness, according to Marci Shimoff, author of the Happy for No Reason personal learning course.

One study published in the journal Science found that the quality of our sleep has a greater influence on our ability to enjoy our day than our income or our marital status. Yet, we remain a sleep-deprived culture.

Shimoff recommends seven to eight hours of shut-eye nightly, and particularly during the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., which is the most beneficial time for restful sleep. Our bodies are designed to work with nature, she says, which means resting when nature rests.

Try to catch what Shimoff calls the “10 p.m. Angel Train.” Go to bed between 9:30 and 10 p.m. at least three nights a week for a few weeks, and pay attention to how your body and mind function the next day.

Avoid late-evening news, as well. What you put your attention on right before you sleep colors the quality of sleep and your dreams, Shimoff says. Unless you want your psyche to be digesting bad news and intense images while you sleep, opt for a calming meditation instead.

Meditation can help you begin sleep in a relaxed state instead of a state of exhaustion, which means you gain more benefit from the time you sleep as well as during that critical period researchers call “the twilight state”—minutes prior to sleep and immediately upon waking.

This delicate zone between wakefulness and sleep is one of physical relaxation, mental clarity, and high suggestibility. What you say to yourself in this state will be taken in and acted upon by the mind, according to learning expert Paul Scheele, creator of the Deep Relaxation and Dream Play Paraliminals.

As you’re drifting in the twilight zone, consider the following:

Refrain from negative thoughts. Replace “I am dreading tomorrow; it’s going to be an awful day” with an intention to support what you want to create: “Tonight I will rest comfortably and feel refreshed upon awakening, ready to do my best at all the tasks I encounter.”

If you wake in the middle of the night be careful of such thoughts as, “Oh no! It’s 2 a.m. I’m never going to get back to sleep. I’ll be exhausted all day.” Instead try: “Excellent. I’m now able to give my mind additional directives to ensure my success tomorrow morning. In the time I have remaining in the night I will rest deeply and receive the equivalent of an extra eight hours of sleep. When I awaken at 6 a.m., I will be well-rested, refreshed, and ready for a great day.”

Upon waking in the morning replace “Ugh! I feel miserable and want to stay in bed” with an effective affirmation: “My body is relaxed and at peace. My mind is clear and calm. I can create my day however I choose. I choose to live this day fully, feeling great, at the top of my game. I now awaken feeling refreshed, revitalized and in tune with life!”

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