Monthly Archives: May 2019

Sleep Medications or Sleep Meditations

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Sleep Medications or

Sleep Meditations

Sleep Medications or

Sleep Meditations

Whether or not you are using medications, we recommend developing a comprehensive sleep strategy to address both the physical and mental aspects of sleep well-being. These meditations on sleep may provide a solution to sleep interference and help to reduce or eliminate the need for sleep medications.

Like many people you may take medications to help sleep at night. According to the Mayo clinic, Doctors prescribed a record amount of sleep aid drugs in 2018 and that record is likely to be broken again this year. You can find more information about insomnia and the use of sleep medications here.

Like any medication, it is important to take sleep aids as prescribed by your physician and to learn about the side effects. All sleep medications have the potential for serious and even fatal side effects when taken improperly or in combination with alcohol or other drugs. Perhaps the greatest risk of taking a sleep medication is the potential for developing a dependency on the medication which over time can diminish your capacity to get restful sleep. The FDA issued new guidelines in April 2019 requiring stronger warnings and disclosures of the risk of some insomnia medicines.

Meditation meaning /

1. The act of giving your attention to only one thing as a way of becoming calm or relaxed

Let’s begin our sleep meditations by focusing on the physical preparation for a restful evening

  • Be purposeful and routine each evening as you prepare your sleep space
  • Arrange your bed how you like it, so that the fabrics and colors of your bedding comfort you and make you feel good about where you sleep
  • Understand and arrange for the right sleep temperature and allow for easy comfort adjustments throughout the night
  • Control light and noise interference
  • Keep a bottle of water by your bedside so you can hydrate if needed
  • Develop a simple one-minute stretch routine just before getting in bed 

Being aware of how the brain functions to initiate sleep is a first step in developing mental preparations and meditations to promote effortless sleep. We want to develop awareness of how the brain is working so that we can act in concert with these natural energies.

Every evening your mind and body go through an automatic shutdown and transformation.

  • Falling asleep is usually gradual with your consciousness touching back and forth between wakeful thoughts and an early sleep state
  • As you fall asleep your body gives off heat and gradually cools down
  • After you are asleep your mind partially shuts down your physical response to mental activity and reactivates the mind into a deeper dream state

Your physical meditations help you avoid distraction as you enter the intermittent sleep period. If your body is too hot or too cold you may inhibit your natural temperature response and prolong wakefulness.

What mental meditations will promote sleep and reduce distractions during the critical transition period from wakefulness to sleep? The answer to this question is different for each person. Consider some of the more common thought distractions.

  • Persistent objective thinking occurs when your brain is working on a problem and won’t let go or stop processing
  • Persistent emotional thinking occurs when you are upset, or concerned, about some event or situation
  • Both objective and emotional thinking can work in tandem and both kinds of thinking prevent you from letting go into a sleep state

Awareness and Expression are two common and easily used meditations to address both types of persistent thought distractions

  • Awareness is using your mind to look at or observe persistent thoughts. The power of observation is remarkable, and thought cannot persist when observed by the thinker because they are one and the same. In the same way that you cannot inhale and exhale at the same time, you cannot observe and think in the same moment
  • Practice using observation as a way of managing overactive thinking
  • Expression may help to diminish the power of persistent thought because it sends a message to your mind that you are paying attention to the problem.
  • Written expression can promote a sense of organization, particularly when the thoughts are objective or task oriented
  • Keep a pad by your bedside and make a list of things that are on your mind with a note that you are going to address these items the next day. Reassure yourself that these items are under control, so the mind can relax
  • Emotional thinking may require more interactive or verbal expression. Sometimes there is no substitute for conversation to address persistent concerns of this kind. Write down your commitment to address these kinds of problems as a way of signaling your intention to resolve the issues underlying the persistent thoughts
  • Prayer can serve as a means of expression and heightened awareness in religious practice and may calm the mind promoting better sleep

These simple examples of sleep meditations can help many people who suffer from insomnia get a better night’s sleep. Still others with more complex issues may require the help of a Doctor or Medical Specialist to help diagnose and treat their sleep related problems. To learn more about other resources see this resource link

Make a commitment to healthful sleep not only by creating a comfortable and supportive sleep environmentbut by practicing good sleep habits so that you get the rest that you need and deserve”

- MCG -

Make a commitment to healthful sleep not only by creating a comfortable and supportive sleep environmentbut by practicing good sleep habits so that you get the rest that you need and deserve”

- MCG -

Foundations of a Good Night’s Rest

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Foundations of a Good Night's Rest

Foundations of a

Good Night's Rest

I like to use the example of a three-legged stool when talking about getting good sleep. Kick out one of the legs and over you go!

In our imaginary three-legged stool, we have:

Sleep (leg one), Exercise (leg two) and Eating Right (leg three)

Ignore any one of these three foundations and you lose balance. It is hard to achieve well-being and optimal health if you concentrate on only one or even two of these health fundamentals. You need to practice good habits in all three areas.

But this is often not the case. Many of us get focused on making improvements in one area by dieting or exercising and then totally ignoring the importance of sleep. We often take sleep for granted or depend on sleep medication to force rest.

Sleep quality and quantity have declined over the past few decades and many people get poor sleep regularly. An adult requires seven or eight hours of sleep per night.The good news is you can develop habits which promote better sleep. Here are simple tips you can start with:

Stick to a sleep schedule

Try and create a uniform schedule for when you go to sleep and when you get up. Your body likes regular sleep habits

Avoid TV, computers, devices, and bright lights at least 30 minutes prior to going to bed. Remember our bodies evolved in an environment free of artificial light stimulation and what we now think of as normal activity is foreign to our physical senses

Minimize snooze alarm time and get up once you wake in the morning

Avoid tossing and turning and get up after 30 minutes if you have not fallen asleep. Return to bed after five or ten minutes of quiet time

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Creating a Favorable Sleep Environment

Your sleep schedule is important and should follow regular habit if possible. Equally important is the sleep environment you create at your home, or when necessary, on the road. Here are some tips for creating a favorable sleep environment.

Sleep on a comfortable mattress. (seriously)

Make sure your sleep temperature is ideal and adjust clothing, covers or controls so you are not too hot or too cold.

Create a dark room and block outside light with heavy curtains or shades. (bat cave)

Experiment with white noise or light music to cover up noise distractions if they exist outside of your control.

Turn off your phone or charge in a separate room so the phone does not wake you at night

Be wary of pets in bed or in the bedroom if they regularly disrupt your sleep

Find a solution to address out of control snoring (you or your partner)

You can create a bedroom which is ideal for sleeping. This means that your room must be cool, dark and quiet. Make creating a favorable sleep environment a priority in your life so you get the rest you need and deserve.

Make a commitment to healthful sleep not only by creating a comfortable and supportive sleep environmentbut by practicing good sleep habits so that you get the rest that you need and deserve”

- MCG -

Make a commitment to healthful sleep not only by creating a comfortable and supportive sleep environmentbut by practicing good sleep habits so that you get the rest that you need and deserve”

- MCG -

Why Good Sleep is a Necessity

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Why Good Sleep is a Necessity

Why Good Sleep

is a Necessity

Getting a good night’s sleep is always included in the short list of things we must do if we want to maintain optimal health and feel good day to day.  If you don’t get the recommended 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night, it can result in physical and mental problems.

Feeling tired or fatigued is an obvious consequence of not getting enough sleep. Over time chronic non-sleepers can develop other more serious health related issues like those listed below.

Memory Problems: When you are sleeping, your brain creates connections that help you to process new information and to remember. If you don’t get enough sleep, these connections dissipate, which has a negative effect on both short-term memory and long-term memory.

Trouble Concentrating and Thinking: Inadequate sleep impairs your problem-solving skills, creativity, and concentration. This impairment can be unsafe if it diminishes your capacity to drive, operate equipment, or participate in situations where paying attention is important!

Mood Changes: When you don’t get enough sleep, you may become quick-tempered and experience mood swings more frequently. Long-term sleep deprivation can result in depression and anxiety.

Weakened Immune System: If you don’t get enough rest and sleep, your immune system will weaken and can increase your chances of catching a cold or flu.

High Blood Pressure: According to the Mayo Clinic not getting enough sleep is a common contributor to developing high blood pressure.

“People who sleep five hours or less a night may be at higher risk of developing high blood pressure or worsening already high blood pressure. There's also an increased risk of high blood pressure for people who sleep only five or six hours a night.”

Weight Gain: According to sleep scientists insufficient sleep promotes hunger and increases our appetite for food. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation can lead to an increase in levels of a hunger hormone called Ghrelin and a decrease in Leptin, a hormone that signals your brain when you are full.

Risk for Type 2 Diabetes: Chronic sleep problems can be a red flag for high blood sugar, which unchecked can lead to adult onset or Type 2 Diabetes. Frequent urination from high sugar is disruptive to sleep and not sleeping well can throw off your eating habits because you are tired and craving energy. Eating right and sleeping well go hand in hand.

Common reasons for not sleeping well include the following:

  • Stress from work
  • Overactive thinking
  • Distracting sleep environment (too much noise or light)
  • Too much sugar or caffeine
  • Irregular sleep habits
  • Lack of exercise
  • Travel and time zone changes
  • Uncomfortable bed or temperature

In learning about the importance of good sleep we are reminded that eating right and exercise contribute to better sleep. These three foundations of good health impact one another so that good habits in one area impact our capacity to achieve goals in other areas.

We see a lot written about the importance of exercise and weight management while the necessity of a good night’s sleep is often overlooked.

Make a commitment to healthful sleep not only by creating a comfortable and supportive sleep environmentbut by practicing good sleep habits so that you get the rest that you need and deserve”

- MCG -

Make a commitment to healthful sleep not only by creating a comfortable and supportive sleep environmentbut by practicing good sleep habits so that you get the rest that you need and deserve”

- MCG -