Who celebrated The Festival of Sleep?
How many of you celebrated the Festival of Sleep Day on January 3rd, 2022? How many even knew there was such a day?
No one really knows the origins of this extraordinary day but it was created for people to get relaxation and sleep after a hectic and stressful time during the Christmas period. The idea is that you stay in your PJ’s all day, enjoying this blissful day celebrating the act of sleep creating a more positive attitude towards sleep. Some even choose to have friends over for sleepovers, chilling all day either in bed allowing yourself to sleep, or on the sofa doing whatever helps you to relax whether it is chatting, playing games, or a movie fest.
This year, I didn’t allow myself this luxury as I am in the process of renovating my home and needed to move furniture from one room to another. I intend to store this day for a few weeks time allowing myself pure indulgence and relaxation, recharging my batteries.
Now the reason for mentioning this is to highlight the importance of sleep for us both mentally and physically. Did you know that last year insomnia was Googled more times in 2021 than it has ever been before? Studies have shown that one in four suffers from insomnia which is truly astounding. Insomnia can be a range of sleeping problems, it could be difficulty in falling asleep, staying asleep, waking too early, or generally poor quality of sleep generally it is different for each individual. 55% of people in the UK struggle with sleep lacking the ability to switch off and relax.
Lack of sleep for continued periods of time can be detrimental for our body and minds, causing problems with thinking, attentiveness, focusing, reasoning, and problem-solving. Long periods of sleep deprivation can cause someone to develop some of the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Sleep also helps with memory.
An incredibly difficult night's sleep means remembering the previous day's learnings and experiences are not retained which can be devastating for anyone especially if you are a student at college or university. The shocking and most alarming effects from long term lack of sleep lead to extreme health problems such as:
● heart failure
● heart attack
● heart disease
● irregular heartbeat
● high blood pressure
Historically we, as humans, would wake up with the break of day and go to sleep when the sun sets. This has been proven that this is the way our sleep hormones work as the brain releases stress hormones in high quantities with the sun rising in the morning, and more relaxing chemicals as the sun goes down. Research has also shown that this is still true when people spend long periods underground without seeing the sun, demonstrating that this seems to be hard-wired into our bodies.
So how does this work in today's world? To put it bluntly, we seem to be messing up our natural ability to sleep. Our sleep patterns are totally different now to our predecessors seemingly working against our body's natural sleeping system. Many of us no longer achieve a rested, sleep fulfilled night of seven to nine hours enjoyed by ancestors.
In my experience not all but many of my clients address the problem of insomnia with me and invariably it manifests into something else. It could be a trauma sometimes as early as childhood, it could be menopause, it could even be parental rejection. Whatever the reason hypnotherapy does help get to the root cause which means this can then be addressed appropriately.
If there are no other causes for an unhealthy sleep pattern then tools and techniques can be taught to help bring on a relaxed state of mind reducing anxiety and stress in those twilight hours which can be brought on due to the inability to sleep properly and the worry of feelings for the next day.
Hypnotherapy not only calms and instigates visualisation of a relaxed state but allows reframing to take place. So should you find yourself waking during the early hours of the morning you are able to relax your mind, taking yourself to a harmonious tranquil place that is significant to you. This type of therapy is a technique that with practice can be used and enjoyed throughout one's entire life.
What can you do to help yourself?
- Being mindful of what you do in your bedroom means your brain makes the association of sleep and your bedroom. What I mean by this is; if you eat, drink, send emails, or messages in your bed then your brain doesn't associate your bed as sleeping time. So when it is time to switch off the lights and go to sleep, your brain won’t respond to this immediately, if at all.
- For someone who experiences sleep deprivation, it is nearly impossible to remain awake and functional throughout the whole day, and it is sometimes inviting to take a short nap to try to catch up with the lack of sleep. This can cause a knock-on effect with the sleep at night time and is therefore important to try and stay awake during the day to give you the best chance of sleeping at night.
- The early hours bring out your worries and fears and can seem magnified at these times so try to allocate a ‘worry time’ during the day when you write down all your concerns.
- If you don’t feel sleepy then get out of bed and go and rest elsewhere, try not to force yourself to go to sleep because that in itself can cause more harm than good than when you do feel sleepy go back to bed.
- Sometimes worrying about how much time you have left until the alarm goes off in the morning can cause stress and anxiety so don’t have any clocks in your bedroom.
- Exercise can also help with sleep but try to do this at least two hours before you are due to go to bed. This allows the endorphin levels to have time to wash out and the brain time to relax and wind down.
Here is an interesting fact:
The Ancient Greeks believed that we slept because of a lack of circulation, which caused us to become unconscious as our body rebalanced blood movement.
I find the nights long, for I sleep but little, and think much.
- Charles Dickens