Refreshing Sleep: Not an Oxymoron
Margie Lawson—psychotherapist, writer, and international presenter – applied her psychological expertise to dissect and analyze over a thousand novels. Her resume includes clinical trainer, adjunct professor, sex therapist, director of a counseling center, hypnotherapist, and trauma specialist.
Her psychologically-anchored Deep Editing tools are used by all writers, from newbies to NYT Bestsellers. She teaches writers how to edit for psychological power, how to hook the reader viscerally, how to create a page-turner.
In the last five years, Margie presented over fifty full day Master Classes in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. She also offers intense three-day Immersion Master Classes on Deep Editing from her home. She lives in a log home on a mountain-top west of Denver.
Refreshing Sleep: Not an Oxymoron
When is the last time you woke up refreshed?
Is sleep deprivation your norm?
If you are sleep deprived, your moods, relationships, productivity, creativity, health, and safety can be impaired. The cumulative effects of sleep loss are linked to an increased risk of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack, and stroke.
Just for fun, try this SHEEP DASH, and check your response time.
BEWARE – The Sheep Dash challenge is addictive. Limit yourself to a few tries – and come back to the blog.
Now – click on the link below to assess sleep deprivation by taking the Epworth Sleepiness Scale.
Now that you know more about your response times and your sleep debt, we’ll explore sleep dynamics.
If you’ve slept well, you have the potential to have a super productive, super creative, super happy day. Writers need all three going strong to optimize their success.
Do you have the gift of sleep?
Do you fall asleep within 30 seconds to three minutes of going horizontal?
Or – Does sleep elude you?
If it takes you less than five minutes to fall asleep at night, that means you're sleep deprived. If it takes you between 10 and 15 minutes to fall asleep, you're still tired enough to experience deep sleep, but you’re not excessively fatigued. You don’t experience periods of exhaustion during the day.
Why do we need to get decent sleep?
There are five top answers – and I consider all of them important.
1. Memory Booster – During sleep, your brain organizes memories, which helps you access them when you’re awake.
2. Learning Booster – When you learn new things during the day, sleep helps you process what you learned, locks in the learning
3. Mood Booster – While you’re sleeping, emotions, decision-making, and social interaction get a break. They rest. The more rest you have, the more you may be able to problem solve the next day.
4. Neuron Booster – Neurons that are used each day repair themselves at night. If you don’t make your sleep quota, your nervous system isn’t repaired. When we’re sleep deprived, it’s no wonder we feel like our nerves are fried.
5. Immune System Booster – If sleep deficient, our bodies are open to invasion. We’re vulnerable. Infection and disease take hold.
Our memory, learning, mood, nervous system, and immune system all function better when we get enough sleep.
How much sleep is enough?
Most adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Refreshing sleep requires a good 7 hours to complete the sleep stages: Drowsiness, Light Sleep, and Deep Sleep, which includes Dream Sleep.
Some people seem to need less sleep, others seem to need more. If you’re sleeping more than 8 hours per night, it could be a symptom of depression. That topic is deeper than this lecture will go. Either talk to your doctor, pursue psychological therapy, or both.
If you consistently sleep less than 7 hours, you may have issues with weight gain as well as immune system problems. Work on improving your sleep patterns.
STOP and THINK. What did you just read?
If you don’t get 7 hours of sleep, you’re more prone to weight gain.
That piece of data may motivate some people to get 7 hours of sleep.
The impact of sleep deprivation hits hardest 24 hours later. If you only slept 3 hours on Thursday night, you may feel a little tired on Friday. You could get 7 hours of sleep Friday night, but feel beyond exhaustion on Saturday.
That’s why students and athletes are encouraged to get good sleep for the two nights leading up to a college entrance exam or a demanding sports event.
What if you have insomnia? Either you can’t fall asleep or you awaken after a few hours and can’t get back to sleep.
What can you do to improve your sleep?
NO NAPS! Or – no more than a 15 – 30 minute POWER NAP
WATCH YOUR CAFFEINE AND ALCOHOL -- none to some
CHECK YOUR IRON LEVEL – you may be low
GO AFTER SUNLIGHT EARLY IN THE DAY – or use one of those cool natural
sunshine lamps – sunshine will help regulate your bio-clock.
What if you wake up and you can’t get back to sleep?
BORE YOURSELF -- think of something mindless, like counting a mountain of cotton balls
LEAVE YOUR BED – read something bland, listen to environmental music, return to bed when you’re sleepy
SLEEP is a big topic with more areas to explore. There are dozens of things you can do to improve your sleep.
Here’s my TOP TEN LIST you can follow to set yourself up for refreshing sleep:
1. Limit caffeine -- none to little morning through mid-afternoon, and none after 4PM
2. Limit alcohol (none to one drink). Alcohol has a rebound effect. It may help you fall asleep, but you’ll pop awake 4 to 5 hours later, and have difficulty going back to sleep
3. Exercise 45 minutes each day, but not within three hours of going to bed
4. Give yourself a minimum of 15 minutes of TRANSITION TIME before bed. Read or do something simple or mindless before you go to bed.
5. Soak in a warm bath for 10 - 15 minutes before going to bed.
6. Drink warm milk (no chocolate) – OR -- eat turkey (on empty stomach)
That doesn’t mean have a turkey sandwich or turkey and dressing. Just a piece of turkey, plain.
7. Avoid over-eating at dinner time – AND -- avoid a sugar-loaded snack before bed.
8. Go to bed at about the same time each night.
9. Tell yourself five positive things before you go to sleep.
10. Give yourself FIVE minutes of STRESS FREE FOCUS TIME first thing every morning. Literally set a timer and think about how you’ll take charge of your day in a positive way. Knowing you’ve got this ease-into-your-day in your schedule each morning alleviates some of your subconscious stress at night. You’ll sleep better.
What do you do, or what can you do, to improve your sleep?
I will respond to posts several times today and this evening.
Anyone who posts a comment TODAY has a chance to WIN a LECTURE PACKET from one of my on-line classes
1. Defeat Self-Defeating Behaviors
2. Empowering Characters' Emotions
3. Deep Editing: The EDITS System, Rhetorical Devices, and More
4. Digging Deep Into the EDITS System
5. Writing Body Language and Dialogue Cues Like a Psychologist
6. Powering Up Body Language in Real Life: Projecting a Professional Persona When Pitching and Presenting
I’ll post the LECTURE PACKET WINNERS tonight, at 8:00PM Mountain Time.
In January, I’m teaching Defeat Self-Defeating Behaviors, a power-packed on-line course that helps writers access their strengths—and empower creativity and productivity. Lectures from each of my on-line courses are offered as Lecture Packets through PayPal from my web site. Lecture Packets are $22; I donate $5 per Lecture Packet for ALS (my cousin).
Please visit www.MargieLawson.com and click on Lecture Packets to read the course descriptions.
If you’re interested in a sample of deep editing, I include Deep Editing Analyses in each issue of my monthly newsletter. To receive my newsletter, click on SUBSCRIBE on the home page of my web site, www.MargieLawson.com
A big THANK YOU to Debbie Kaufmann for inviting me to guest blog for the Petit Fours and Hot Tamales today.