Thursday, September 14, 2006

Tips for relaxation and sleep

After being caught out for promising something and then not delivering, here's a few relaxation techniques. It might not seem to have much to do with a surf trip, but I had these problems going into a Surf Trip to Bali in 2005 and it's no fun being on holiday and not sleeping. These suggestions were all put into practice to help alleviate the sleep issue and enjoy my holiday.

In September 2005 I was Project Manager on a fairly large project at work, and while it was rare that I felt stressed the signs were definately manifesting themselves.

I was waking up 2-3 times a night thinking, and having just dreamed about, the project. Once awake I found it impossible, or at least very difficult, to get the thoughts out of my mind.

To compound things, I also had a constant twitch in my right eye. It would start shortly after I woke up each day and would come back anywhere between 5 - 20 times a day, sometimes for 1 minute, sometimes 5, sometimes 15 minutes at a time.

The strange thing is I didn't feel stressed, but my body was obviously telling me otherwise.

This all went away eventually, and it was thanks to the few suggestions I've listed below......

  • Let all the thoughts come to you at once

    You're lying in bed but can't sleep because you're flooded with thoughts? Let them come, search for as many thoughts as possible and play each one out. After a while you'll find a) you've fallen asleep, or b) there are no longer any thoughts left so you can fall asleep.

    The idea is to stop worrying that the thoughts are stopping you from sleeping and embrace each of them until they no longer exist.

  • Thoughts still there? Write them down

    Sometimes thoughts are tasks you didn't accomplish that day, or need to do tomorrow, sometimes they are ideas of posts for you blogs. What ever it is, it's something that you are worried about forgetting the next day.
    There's nothing you can actually do about them while you're in bed, so write them down.
    I sleep with a pad and pen next to the bed (or futon). If I have one of those thoughts I'll write them down, that way I know I've done something about them and I can stop worrying/thinking about it..... it's on the list for tomorrows tasks.

  • Exercise. Run, swim, ride, walk, climb, yoga, pilates, pushups, crunches, surfing.................
    Ok, so you don't have to do them all, but some form of exercise tires the body, which in turn then requires the body to rest........... sleep!

  • White/Black Board (circle work)
    Seem strange, it was when I heard about it too. Don't worry, it' doesn't involve hitting yourself over the head with a white board.

    Imagine a white board, like one you would have seen at primary school..... if white boards weren't around, imagine a black board, if they weren't invented then..... imagine a cave wall (and congratulations for still being alive!!! ;)

    Make a circle large circle on the board. Now put a big cross (X) in the middle of the circle. Get the eraser (this is tough on a cave wall) and erase the X in small circles starting in the middle and working your way slowly to the outside being carefull not to erase any of the circle.

    Once you're finished, write the word "deeper" on the right outside of the circle. Each time you write the word deeper, feel yourself getting drowsier and deeper in to sleep.

    Now write the number 99 in the middle of the circle. Erase the number using the same technique as the X. Once it's gone go over the word deeper again, remembering to feel yourself getting drowsy and deeper into sleep.

    Write the number 98 and so on and so on until you fall asleep.

    The important thing about this is you need to feel yourself falling further and further each time you write over the word deeper.

Let me know if this helps anyone, and if you have any other suggestions for relaxation or sleep. techniques?


Skye said...

Thanks :)

I'll come back and read all the tips after I wake up again at decent hour (it's currently 2am). My eyes aren't quite focusing at the moment.

Birdman said...

I hope the tips have helped, have you still been using the futon or have you migrated into bed now?
We've got someone staying in our computer room at the moment so I don't have the option of jumping online when I wake up at night and getting much more sleep as a result!

Skye said...

I have to admit, that jumping on the computer in the middle of the night option is one of the culprets to me not getting a good night's sleep too :)

I haven't migrated to my bed yet, but I plan to start that as of Saturday night. I'm gonna put all your suggestions into practice and not let myself give up, remembering that it takes 6 weeks to break a habit.

That white-board, black-board thing sounds interesting. Sure hope it doesn't make me too

Thanks again for all the energy you've put into answering my question. I wish I knew more about surfing or movie-making...I'd offer you some advice too :)

Skye said...

First night...made it to 4am. I did use your "let the thoughts come" technique once during the night, and it worked. But when I woke up at 4am, I couldn't remember any of your other suggestions, so had to come out here and read them again. Now my mind feels way too alert to fall back to