Tuesday, July 28, 2015

What to do about that Bad Sleep

In this video I discuss Judgement and the bad sleep we think we just had.
In a nutshell, what we think about the night before will change what happened the night before...


There is a transcript below - there are a few deletions and additions and yet the main points are there.

Transcript of Video

Judgments
The research I refer 'loosely' to in the video can be found at Placebo sleep affects cognitive functioning.

This video is about judgment. Really quickly when we wake up in the morning and we judge what we think and how we feel about what happened the night before, i.e. during the night, that influences how our body responds for the rest of the day. I won't get into the research into this, but there is some very recent research which backs this up. Actually, they did it at a university in the states. 

There were two teams of 15 - 20 people each. Both teams doing the same exercise. One team were told constantly that the exercise they were doing just wasn't doing them any good and they were actually getting worse health wise while the other team was being told the opposite. Now they were both doing the same exercises. They were living the same. They were about the same age group, blah, blah, blah. They were being told all this stuff about how bad they were doing, they started to actually respond that way physiologically. Similarly, the people on the other side who were being told how well they were doing started to respond positively with reference to what they were told. The research kind of went on and on and what they realized was - and this has been brought out in many other research studies - is that when we think something about something that's happened, that perception influences how our physiology literally remembers what has happened and then does what it does next because of that. 

So if I remembered last night and I woke up four or five times for example and had a little bit of trouble getting to sleep each time, if I wake up and I look back and go "oh man I woke up four times and my daughter cried", blah, blah, blah and that means I'm going to have a really crap day or I'm going to be tired or whatever, then that is going to play out. Our perceptions and our thoughts influence our feeling. Our feelings strongly affect our physiological movement forward, the amount of energy we have and so on and so forth. They've done research on this in psychosomatics, where we are told something or we think something is going to work and that is called the placebo affect. The opposite of that we now call the nocebo affect. So the placebo is "if I get this pill, it's got something really good in it and it's going to help me get over this thing that I'm experiencing and the upshot of it is that is often, but not always, often the case. There's some research around some people are more susceptible to placebo. If we use the opposite, then if I believe this is going to harm me, this thing that I'm taking, then the nocebo affect takes place and this has been proven to be quite true as well. Not across the board. Some people are more influenced than others.

Fundamentally the generalisation is that what we think about what we're doing or what we've done actually influences our physiology and what happens next. It's kind of like you wake up the morning after having had a great time out. So we go out and we party and we go to an amazing gig and we see people we haven't seen in ages and we laugh and we dance, blah, blah, blah. We get home about 3 o'clock in the morning, but we have to wake up at 6:30 or 7 o'clock and we've got to go and do like a normal day's work. Now many of us would look back on that and go "well that was such a good time and I feel so energised. It was so good to meet people and blah, blah, blah and I have 2-4 hours sleep and in my head I'm just so fizzing because I've had such a good time". Then you've got other people that go "oh man, I got home so late. What am I going to do? I've got to get through the whole day" and so subsequently the two different people who had the same experience with different perceptions of that experience, their physiology will respond in accordance. 

So what am I getting at? Why is this important with sleep? Well it's obvious. What I think about the sleep that I think I just had is going to strongly influence the feelings that I have about the sleep I think I've just had. If I have a bunch of beliefs, which we can get into a lot more depth later, if I have beliefs about what that means, then I will make it mean that and then when I get on with my day, whatever I believe about what last night meant, that will start to physiologically respond in my body. So, what do we do? Well here's the thing. When we're waking up in the morning regardless of what happened, it's gone. Regardless of what happened during the night or last night, I woke up 3 or 4 times or two times, regardless of what happened, it's gone and the reality is I can still choose how I wish to think about it. I can look back and go "well that's how it was. How do I want to have my day? How much energy do I want to have? What are the things that are really necessary for me to achieve today?" and then I can picture myself having achieved them, which would help me to release any possible anxiety about it.

The essence of this is that the judgments we have about what has happened really influence how we go forward and the kind of energy we generate, the beliefs we have about going forward because of what's behind us. It's probably the same about many things in life. A discussion we had with someone can really influence how we then spend our time with that person. However, we can have 100 different ways of generalising that discussion. Like it's been ten minutes on Facebook and read a whole bunch of stuff and it's all kind of like inane and pointless and I could say "well like is inane and pointless", but I could get on next time and I get all these blog posts and things about you know really interesting political stuff or environmental stuff and I go "wow, I didn't know that and this means this and this". So once again, it will either energise me or de-energise me and that's where we've got to be quite careful about what we read and what we think about, the things that we hear or read or think. So it's not so much that we don't judge. It's maybe that we acknowledge and then ask ourselves "how does this work for me and if it does work for me, how can I go forward happily, sleep well, enjoy my life with that information" or "this doesn't work for me so I'm just going to leave it and do something else".

So in summary, what we think and feel about the thing that's just happened and in this case about the sleep we think we just had, actually influences our energy and our physiology going forward. The way around that is to just acknowledge it. There it is. It is what it was and I don't really understand. Here's the other thing and this is what is often quite interesting. We wake up in the middle of the night, we are often, not always, but often we're not fully awake. We're not fully cognisant. We're a little bit dozy. You know, we might even be in a semi-hypnotic state or as they call it, semi-trance state. So our perceptions of what's going on unless it's a real emergency, are often a little bit a-skewed. When we get back into bed, because we're lying down and we're resting, our perception unless we're constantly looking at the clock, our perception of time and our perception of what's really going on are also a bit a-skewed. When we wake up in the morning and we look back with a fully conscious state, we're actually looking back at a not fully conscious state from a conscious state. That means we're not even really sure if what we remember is true. 

So it's really important to just maybe consider, there's not a rule as such, but to consider other judgments I'm having about the night before. Are they benefiting me? Are they fuelling me positively to move forward? Are they giving me energy? Do they make any sense? Am I hallucinating them? Then decide "well what do I want to do today? What kind of state of mind is useful to me" How much energy do I have or do I feel like I have in order to do those things?" 


Try it out. It's good fun and it can really change. Once you've done that for a little while, it then changes your perceived judgments or thoughts about going to bed. So it changes how we may perceive the night that was or start to influence how we perceive the nights coming up and the days ahead.  

Thanks.


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Emotions and Sleep

Emotions and Sleep

This video (and transcript below) are about emotions and how they effect our sleep and of course some tips for working with emotions for a better sleep.


Transcript (please excuse occasional spelling and grammar issues)

Emotions are a really big thing. I talk about them quite a lot in my book "Better Sleep Sooner", which you can download or buy from the site. Emotions are what drives us and one of the gentlemen who was involved in creating Neuro Linguistic Programming, that's Richard Banner, he often says when he's talking about sales to workshops and to clients that we're selling an emotion when we're selling something and it's like that for ourselves. We are constantly selling an idea to ourselves and the emotional feedback we give or get from that is what sells it and that's what can often work for us and it can also work kind of against us. 

Sleep is often one of those things that kind of suffers. The thing with sleep is when it's not going well, it's kind of like a ? and it's not actually the sleep that is the problem. It's a whole bunch of other stuff that are affecting the balance within the mind/body system, which then affects the sleep. Emotions and emotional upset, even hyper emotional states will stop us from sleeping. Getting very excited about something, like Christmas Eve when I was a kid kind of way, but then there's the other things. It's like an exam the next day. Have I studied enough? Anxiety and I'm not sleeping. It could be when I was really sick many years ago when I was in my early 20s. I had many evenings where I just could not sleep. Many, many of them. That was more to do with what was going on physiologically and how I felt about that. 

Emotions are a huge part of our lives. They're such a major part of our lives and what I've noticed with working with physiological illnesses with clients over the years is that the way we feel or the emotion we have about the thing that is going on can often relate or even be the emotion that is creating the problem that is going on. An example could be asthma for me. When I used to have asthma, I used to have that and I don't have it anymore, when I used to have that, I used to get really angry and frustrated. Now the one thing I learned once I released it from my life was that it was anger and frustration that had tightened everything up to such a degree that it had generated the asthma, or those things, the symptomologies that were labeled asthma. I don't actually believe really that I ever had asthma. Asthma is a label given to a set of symptomologies and it's kind of a lazy way of dealing with symptoms. Give them a label! He's got asthma! It's not necessarily true. I didn't have asthma or I didn't have any of those things. What I was doing was I was expressing a discomfort in an imbalance, which was generalized to this thing called asthma.

That's a really important thing to consider when we talk about emotions because what we actually are saying often is "I'm angry" or "I'm angry at you". When actually what we're doing is anger. So I'm not angry. I am doing or feeling angry. Some of you may say "that's semantics" and "that's just like you're getting old", but the truth is when I say "I'm angry", then I've got to change myself or who I am in order to stop being angry, but actually anger is something that I'm doing. I'm doing it strategically actually at a deep unconscious level. I'm responding to a stimulus and that stimulus means I run a strategy, which is like I'm angry. I do anger and express that outward in whatever way. 

Now that emotion is actually, sometimes I can't control it I guess. Most of us have these emotions that we just suddenly are just feeling this way. It's how we're designed. When we pull it back a little bit and rewind a little bit, we realize that there's a trigger and there's a moment of response and there's some choices maybe and there's some strategies that we run, there's some imaginings that we have and then that means we do anger. 

Why am I saying this? That's a good question. Emotions are really, really important to be aware of. Specifically the ones that are out of control and the ones that are generating stress because those are the kinds of emotions that sit in the system and it can really influence our ability to sleep or not and usually not. 

So, I'm not going to get into a whole bunch of strategies or talks about how to do that because there are many, about as many as there are people watching this video. I hope there's more than just two or three of you! So these emotions however, are really important to understand on the level that if I'm feeling really frustrated about the lack of sleep that I'm having or that I'm experiencing, then what might be an answer to that is the frustration. The frustration being the thing that I'm feeling about the lack of sleep can be the same emotion that is generating the lack of sleep.

Now I know when I was feeling sick and at times in my life where I haven't slept very well. Often I wake up in the morning and I think "how do I feel about that? I'm really frustrated about that" so for me, I think asking myself "what's frustrating me at the moment outside of sleep in my life". It might be work. It might be relationships. It might be whatever and so if I'm able to get clarity on that and make some adjustments around the general frustration, then that releases that energy so that I can actually begin to sleep, which means I wake up in the morning and I'm not getting that symptomological response of frustration. I hope that makes sense.

Emotions are just so fascinating and they're so important to be able to work with and there are many ways of doing that. There's NRP. One thing about NRP is that to work with emotions and I'm going to do a couple of videos on this because there's quite a lot involved, is just working with sub-modalities and very quickly. A sub-modality is kind of the way that we perceive the kind of experience that leads to anger or a memory where we got angry or the context in which we got angry and how we remember that in our mind. 

Now I'll give you an example. I went to a movie recently and the movie was a three dimensional movie and I think it was Guardians of the Galaxy. How they get so much into a movie and the technology to make those sorts of things must be ferocious because it meant silly glasses on and looking at this right there and there were things popping out at me, I looked at that thing respectively and I thought "no wonder that gets under the skin". It's so huge and because everything is coming at you, it's so real and because it's bright and it's so loud and there's galaxies and space ships and having to even work this stuff out to choreography is beyond me. So the modalities of that were all extremely huge and close and loud so some modalities, if I was to speak about sound, sound is a modality or hearing is a modality. So volume would be a sub-modality. Tempo would be another sub-modality. Pitch would be a sub-modality. Tonality is a sub-modality. Distance would be a sub-modality because if something is aware that they're making a sound, it's quite different to being right here making a sound. So with visuals or the visual, brightness, closeness, size, speed, three dimensional and those sorts of things. They're all sub-modalities. 

So why is that important. Well when we do emotions sometimes the way around it or the way to understand it is to say "what am I thinking that kind of inspires me to feel this way". For example, if I'm working with someone who is having nightmares, the nightmare is normally quite big and ugly and bright or really dark or heavy, but it's right there. So the sub-modality of that would be to change the distance, so if I pushed that away to about five meters away, right over there, what happens to the emotion when you have all this distance between you and the thing and generally, not always, but mostly the person would say this actually doesn't feel as emotionally intense. So if we made it smaller as it moved away, we made it smaller and maybe a little fuzzy, what happens then? Generally, not always, but generally the person will say it just looses it emotional intensity. 

A positive example of that is when we remember a wonderful event. I remember going to Movie World or something in Movie World. It was the stupidest ride I've ever been on in my life. It was a video. It was the Simpsons. It was a Simpsons thing and you lifted up through a hatch and you're in the middle of this three dimensional video. It's not even real, but I just about threw up because I'm just surrounded by the stuff and the things rocking and people screaming. There were only six of us in the whole thing and it's just going like this and it's crazy and it's all three dimensional and suddenly I'm flying through space. The sub-modalities of that was it's right there so if I wanted to relax afterwards, spread it out and give myself more space. Give myself more time and let things soften. That's just an example.

So when we're noticing we're feeling emotional and we know that the emotion is influencing our sleep, then it's a really good idea to check out some possible ways of working with those emotions to soften them. NRP is a really good way. EFT, emotional freedom technique is a really good way. It works for many people. Not all, but there's been a great success with EFT and NLP for US veterans, war veterans and things and that's a pretty extraordinary situation to be in. 

So once again, emotions. In summary, the emotions we feel about the thing that is going on can often give us insight as to the emotion that's generated the thing going on. Example, if I'm feeling frustrated about lack of sleep, it could be the frustration in my life that is generating the lack of sleep. Now I say 'could be' because I'm basing this primarily on a lot of my own experience with hundreds of clients and I've found that when we discuss the emotions and what's going on in their life, there is a very, very strong correlation between the emotion they're feeling about what's going on and the emotions that are generating what's going on. Not always and yet most of the time and I think that's really fascinating and it gives us a head start, if you like, a foot in to making the changes that we would like to make so that we can just have more choices about how we feel about our life and of course so that we can maybe sleep a lot better this night.


So if you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to email me and I'll get right back to you.