Why sleep is our best friend when striving for our dreams
When we want to create a fulfilled and happy life we need to also look at the areas that are keeping us from creating that wonderful, balanced and empowered life we dream of, and enable us to access that information and the wisdom that directs us to our flow* and our purpose. When I was working in the legal field I knew what I was doing didn’t feel right to me but I couldn’t pinpoint what else I could do and where my natural flow resided.
One of the reasons I was unable to tap into my flow further was my lack of sleep and my irregular sleeping routine. This kept my body out of sync with itself, up when it was supposed to be sleeping and regenerating itself and sleeping when it was supposed to be recharging with vitamin D. My bad sleeping habits confused my body and looking at the research I'm not surprised!
They say we need an average of eight hours sleep a night. Some find they need even more depending on their body type. I am definitely, at least, an eight hour sleeper and religiously keep to that appointment with myself.
Why is sleep our best friend?
Research from the 'Great British Sleep Survey' shows that people who have a poor night's sleep feel five times more likely to feel alone and seven times more likely to feel helpless. When we do not have regular good night's sleep, Dr Michael Breus the author of 'Beauty Sleep' has found, that we are more prone to illness. This is because our body hasn’t had time to regenerate itself through sleep (in the dark). We are more prone to stress – as our mood is affected and our minds are more fragile thus we have less control over how outside/or inside stimuli of the negative type affects us, and we find relationships more challenging. Additionally our decision making is impaired and we are more likely to have traffic accidents.
What having good sleep habits does do is improve our psychological health. Harvard Medical School has discovered, if we sleep more than our body type we can even increase our volume of grey matter in our brains. Now, how amazing is that!
Our integrity is improved and we are more likely not to be swayed by other opinions, which helps us find our flow (keep following the right flow) and not get influenced by others opinions of us or what we ‘should’ do. When we are well rested we are more likely to be in tune with ourselves, make decisions based on what our values are and thus also pick up on opportunities that lead us towards our goals (if you focus your mind on a goal, your brain is more likely to pick up on opportunities related to this goal – a bit like your own search engine!).
We are also more competent, confident and better leaders when have slept well. And as Arianna Huffington, CEO of Facebook, says we actually empower ourselves by creating great sleeping habits, as we are then in charge of our minds and not muddling our important decisions away.
One of the most fascinating things I find about sleep is not only that is regenerates our mind and body but that it enables us to come up with new and better ideas to a problem. If you want to go one step further, what you can do is ask your mind (some call it god, universe, higher powers) a question and the next day or even sometimes at night the answer will come to you. With me it is many times an answer I will not have thought of yet. Truly wonderful!
Prepare for a good night sleep
To get a good night sleep we should start to prepare for bed at least an hour before. Switching off all those devices like mobile phones, laptops and televisions (that actually impair our melatonin production in the brain - the hormone that regulates our internal body clock) helps with settling the mind for a restful sleep.
Creating a tranquil atmosphere with lowered lights or candles and soothing music will help too. Changing into pyjamas that are comfortable and you love will give your brain the cue that it is time to start to switch off. If you have had a hectic day and find it hard to wind down a hot bath, combined with stretching and meditation routine or mindfulness exercises does the trick for me. If lack of time is a concern, Arianna Huffington’s words of wisdom from her book 'Thrive' come back to me – "Treat your bedtime like an important appointment. Schedule sleep in like one of your urgent meetings."
Go make that appointment now and do report back on how you are getting on. Sleep well tonight!
*What is flow? 'We all have interests, however being in your flow is the state where your passion(s)(something that rises above all your interests) and natural talent merge. Some call this passion, element, common sense, 'so me', their mojo. I call it flow.
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About Petra Tourunen
Petra Tourunen is a women's authenticity and transformational coach - theFlowStyler. She specialises in working with women who are 'this close' to quitting their job, want their work/life balance back and who want to create a career around their uniqueness and passion. Their flow.