00:06 Oh, the joy of a beautiful night's sleep. Sleep is so important, from lowering our stress, to even our cholesterol. Some may say I am a bit obsessed with sleep. I am not obsessed with sleeping, but I am very concerned with the quality of sleep. When our sleep declines, so does our health. Unfortunately, we seem to reach for an answer quickly, and often that answer is in the form of a pill or herbal pill. Whatever its, I am not touting these things, but I really feel we need to look at some natural habits that can really, truly improve our sleep forever.
00:48 In this episode, I am going to present some tips and tricks that you can start trying right away. But I want to focus on what brought us to the quality of sleep we have today, good, bad, or indifferent. Habits, quality, they don't happen overnight, no pun intended. So, sleep is no joke, nor is this podcast, but we still might giggle a little. So, hang in there! Let's talk, sleep!
01:53 Hey there! Alexa Z here! Before I begin, as a new podcaster, I was informed that I am supposed to ask you to subscribe. I hate asking for help, but you know, it keeps me going, you're friendly people. So, this is episode 6, but my trusty companions, AKA, my three dogs, said it's kind of like episode 42. So, if you're enjoying it, there's no awful thing that will happen to you if you just hit that subscribe button. It'll just let you know when a new episode comes out, and if you like it, please share it with friends and family, leave a review, whatever. You've made me smile. OK, thank you, let's get on with it.
02:28 On to sleep. I don't think a day goes by where I don't hear someone complaining about sleep. Not only, I need more, but they can't fall asleep, stay asleep, can't stop their brain from thinking, and thinking, and thinking or sleep like a log and wake up completely exhausted. Well, my friends, you're certainly not alone. If you took a minute, and you said OK, I am going to tell you exactly when the last time I had a perfect night's sleep, just perfect, didn't have to add any meds in, or NyQuil or a bottle of wine, you just woke up feeling great, refreshed, and energetic, and ready to take on the day; it's often hard to remember when that day was. And if you can, right now, and you're like, "oh, Lex, I know, I know when it was, happens all the time for me." Well, listen to my tips today, and if you have a few of your own, please, go to my podcast notes, go to alexazmeditates.com/podcast, give me some of your tips! I would love to share them, and I would like to learn too. Anything I talk about today, don't worry about writing it down, I'll tell you how to get a list of them on a PDF at the end, and there is a bonus in there also.
03:33 Here are some fun facts about sleep:
05:46 OK, that's enough. We know. Yes, yes, yes. I get it.
05:48 So, I am going to give you five simple tips. I am the queen of simple and number 5, of course, is the best. So, wait for 5. If you would like a list of these and a bonus that I will tell you about in the end, go to alexazmeditates.com/sleep, and you can get these tips and a little bit more.
Go to alexazmeditates.com/sleep to see the full list of tips and a bonus.
10:33 … I started to meditate, and I am still not sleeping great. Well, remember what it took you to get to this point. There might be terrible things like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; you might have significant stresses going on in your life, maybe you lost a loved one, whatever it is, there are reasons why you're here.
10: 52 What I am asking you to do today is look at your natural life, see what you can adjust. See if you can improve the time you go to bed. See if you can adapt what you do before you go to bed. See what your body naturally does. And be honest with yourself, how long did it take you to get there.
11:12 You go through a REM cycle and a Non-REM cycle when you sleep. So first it's non-REM, as you are going through what they call, call it one though four. So, 1,2,3, you're getting sleepy, sleepy, sleepy, more profound, deeper, more restorative, then as you enter REM (meaning rapid eye movement) at the end of a sleep cycle. At this stage, you are a little more awake, and then you go through the cycle again. On a perfect day, your cycle is gentle and stable, about 90 minutes. Now you start the next cycle. We are trying to get our cycle consistent. To calm our breath, to get our heart rate to drop. It sounds like a lot, but what can we do that's simple? My five tips are super simple. The meditation part is too, so don't be scared.
12:01 Here's the secret sauce; sleep lowers stress, exercise reduces stress. Sleep is one of the top ones; however, they are only working on your current stress. How much stress do you have? Did you sleep soundly enough to wash it clean, so the next day, you're at zero? Probably not. Do you have ten units of stress when you go to sleep, and maybe you get through five? Well, where did the other five go? Are they going to tack on to your next night's sleep?
12:34 Now practice a bit of meditation, and not only will current stresses be alleviated, but it is also acting on past stress. As you start to unravel that stress, you are now gaining momentum toward a stable sleep bank account. So, the next time you go to sleep, maybe you've got nine units, not ten units of stress. Does that make sense?
12:58 Meditation, I am the meditation motivator, is going to help add to that good bank account that has nourishing things and less stress. Fewer stress hormones mean room for more happy hormones.
13:16 Now, there is another form of meditation, which I have not talked about yet on the podcast, and it will be on one of the next two, and that's a specific form of meditation called Yoga Nidra. Yoga Nidra, which I call lay down meditation, is also a way to quiet your mind and increase alpha waves and get into deep restoration. Nidra, which means sleep, is fantastic. So, that's another secret sauce, but I have to save that for another episode. I have to keep you coming back!
I know when I am meditating, I am helping my brain waves. When I quiet my mind, sitting in my chair, my mind is awake, it is aware, it is calming. I am using my hands right now, going from the top of my head and dropping downwards — Beta, dreamy, Alpha, Theta. I am meditating my way into my brainwaves. Does that make sense? I am training my brain. Training it to calm. The more I've trained my brain, the more when I lay down in my bed to go to sleep, my brain is like, "oh yeah, I know what to do; I am going to go through the Beta, Alpha, Theta, Delta dance." Give it a try: Beta, Alpha, Theta, Delta [snore sound].
14:43 I hope you enjoyed the show! If you got nothing else out of it but to say, I need to work my way towards better sleep; you will be going in the right direction. If you are like me and you have an Apple watch or a Fitbit or something like that, use it for your little study. Look at your watch, only before you go to bed, and then turn the screen off, so you don't have to look at it until morning. In the morning, look and see what the quality of your sleep is. I don't care what it measures if you want to look at your heart rate or what they consider deep sleep, it doesn't matter as long as you are looking at the same thing every day. Conduct your comparison. Do this for a couple of weeks, using some of these tips, and tell me what that sleep thing on your wrist says. You're going to be surprised. But be patient, you didn't get to a lousy sleep cycle overnight.
Thank you, my friends! Go to alexazmeditates.com/sleep, you can get your tips, and at the end of the PDF, there is a bonus meditation you can listen to before you go to bed, which . will help calm your body. You must calm your body before you can ease your mind. Join me again in a couple of weeks to find out more about Nidra, and I bet I have a big special treat at the end for you in that episode as well.