Sleep. For some it comes easily and for others it’s an elusive luxury that comes when you don’t want it to and hides when you really want it.
I always used to believe that the term “A good night’s sleep” was a tagline dreamed up by a marketing wizard somewhere to promote the sale of sleeping pills. I really didn’t believe there was such a thing as a good night’s sleep.
Over time, as I’ve learned much about my own life and focussed on the things that are important to me – my health and wellness and my relationships – and created my own blockbuster life I’ve started to sleep much better.
Once upon a time I thought myself lucky if I’d had 2 hours undisturbed sleep out of a total of 5 hours. I just believed I was someone who didn’t need much sleep but also who couldn’t physically sleep for any longer than that unless I was ill.
What I’ve learned over the past few years, and with the benefit of hindsight, is that my sleep pattern has drastically improved as my stress levels have reduced. For years I was living with chronic stress which had a significant impact upon my whole physiology (I talk more about that in my book ‘Create YOUR Blockbuster Life: How to Step Out of the Wings into YOUR Spotlight’) and it was only as I started to relax, when the stressor had been removed from my life and the fear I was living in was reducing, that I started to sleep better.
But that’s all it was: better. I wasn’t getting quality sleep and it would take me hours to get to sleep each night. I was still only getting about 2 hours of undisturbed sleep at a time but I was managing to stay in bed in a sort of sleep-like state for up to 6 hours which was a 20% improvement!
However, my sleep pattern wasn’t just affecting me, it was also affecting my partner. My restlessness was disturbing him through the night and that in turn was affecting our relationship. We were happy but our interminable tiredness was making us cranky with each other. I needed to make a change without resorting to drugs.
I decided to change my diet. Only minor tweaks were needed but I stopped eating later than 7pm each evening. It took a lot of discipline to ensure I started cooking dinner as soon as the working day was over rather than sitting down to relax a while before contemplating preparing the evening at 7.30pm or 8pm as I had done previously. But perhaps most importantly I started exercising again.
Within a week of starting running again I was noticing a difference in my sleep pattern. Not only was I sleeping for between 6 to 7 hours per night, I was managing to sleep for at least 3 hours at a time without waking up. For the first time in my life I’ve started to have more mornings where I wake up feeling refreshed and I fall asleep within about half an hour of getting into bed. I’m now finding it quite easy to get up at 5.30am two mornings a week to go for my run, knowing that I’ve slept well the night before and will sleep well that night too.
And as for the impact on my relationship. We’re both noticing the difference. Both of us are sleeping better as I don’t disturb my partner with my tossing and turning. As a result we’re both happier, we don’t snipe at each other and now that sleep isn’t such an elusive luxury anymore our bedtime is much more relaxed and enables us to properly fulfil our relationship on a regular basis in a calm and relaxing environment.
If you’re having difficulty sleeping and it’s affecting all areas of your life I highly recommend looking at where you can make some tweaks to your lifestyle. Exercise is my Number 1 recommendation – not only will it improve your own health and wellness and your mental health, it could improve your relationship and kick-start your sex life too!
When all areas of our life are balanced, then we truly feel that we’re living our Blockbuster Life. Give it a try.
What have you got to lose?