Soma Tool: Get Better Sleep with “Landing the Plane”
I help empower my clients to learn 6 basic healthy habits they can use to keep their health in balance. One of those healthy habits is sleep. Sleep is essential to your body’s health. Lack of sleep will effect your digestion, hormone balance, emotional health, brain health and ability to accomplish simple daily tasks. (Just to name a few things)
The biggest challenge for my clients is how to practically make it happen. I use what is called, “landing the plane”, as a tool to help them think through practical helps for meeting their sleep goals.
When a plane is landing, it does not race full speed and drop to the ground. However, we often respond that way when it comes to going to sleep. We work or play until we are so exhausted that we drop in the bed.
If a plane landed full speed on the ground, the plane would not function properly and most likely explode. Nor can our bodies crash land into bed without consequences. Sleep is meant to be a space where many rhythms of rest and work happen within our bodies. Our bodies detox, balance hormones, assimilate information in the brain and prepare for the next day.
If we crash land into bed, our bodies are not able to process and function as intended. If we both crash land and limit our hours of sleep, over many months and years, you will begin to see dysfunction both at night and during the day in all of your rhythms. Sleep is so important!
When a plane lands, it slowly ascends to the ground and gives it self plenty of time to land safely bringing all people to safe return. I teach my clients to move towards sleep just like landing a plane, slowly with intentional thought and giving enough time.
Here are 3 basic ways to “Land the Plane”:
1. Set a time goal and start with 15 min adjustments
What would be optimal sleep time? Research suggests that getting to sleep by 10pm will give your body ample time to function well in sleep. However, 10pm may be 2 or even 3 hours earlier than your current bedtime.
I have my clients observe were they are currently at with sleep, in light of their initial goal and encourage them to start there. If they are going to be at midnight, I have them start working backwards by 15 min increments. Once they are able to accomplish 15 mins earlier, the next night they can shift to another 15 mins until they reach their goal.
2. Find the object or space to begin the ascent
It is important when making a shift from one rhythm to another that you have something to motivate or lead you in that direction. I encourage clients to think about activities that help them breath slower and relax their brain. Some of the things my clients choose are coloring, journaling, using senses (breathing, essential oils, baths, gentle music), reading a good book, reading a magazine or writing letters.
I help my clients to utilize this to help them move towards their goal 30 mins before bedtime. If they are shifting from 12a to 11:45p that night, then they start at 11:15p to do their activity. This is the “how” to landing the plane.
3. Turn off all electronics an hour before
It is essential that electronic devices be turned off an hour before they start the ascent to bed. TV, podcasts, kindles in the bed will NOT help you sleep. I repeat, it will NOT help you sleep.
Determine a time to shut all electronics off and stick with it. At first it may be very difficult. Embrace the difficulty, the quiet space, the aimless mind in need of distractions. These tensions prove not your need for them, but your addiction of them. Keep persevering, use your new space of activity to lead you out of the tension and turn your lights off for the sake of your health. I promise your body will thank you.
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