Sunday, February 18, 2018

From Sleep Dis-Order to Sleep In-order – how to change a habit

November 24, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured Posts, Practice

cloud“No exercise for 3 to 4 weeks,” ordered the doctor following a minor operating procedure.

“Are you serious?” I demanded, his statement jolting me out of the end stages of anaesthesia.

I had recently signed up for a 30-day Bikram Yoga Challenge in which I would be doing a 90-minute class every day for 30 days. My friend Geri was back in town and we planned to start back with our midweek runs. Further, I had just booked my flight to Jamaica for Christmas, but my plastic wrap tight pants screamed that I had to lose some weight to fit into my new bikini. This was no minor op – this was a major disaster!

Over the next few days, as I settled into my new routine of recovery, with no exercise other than walking (which is really not exercise in my adrenaline-junkie book) I wondered, as I always do, how I could make the best of this situation.

“Seek and you will find.” My silver lining came early one morning as I was journaling – this was a great opportunity to make sleep a priority. I had no travel planned for the next few weeks, and not exercising meant that I had freed up 2 to 3 hours per day. To start this new adventure, I made one decision:

I stopped setting my alarm clock. I would sleep until I awoke naturally.

And here’s what happened:

  • I slept for between 7 to 9 hours per night, awakening feeling rested and refreshed.
  • My mind was clear and focused. I was much more productive in my work, and my overdue to do list had whittled down significantly.
  • I didn’t experience my late afternoon energy slump which would drive me to coffee or sugar just to drag me through the rest of the day.
  • I started to go to bed earlier. I just went whenever I was tired which was usually around 10:00 pm, but sometimes as early at 9:00 pm. If I stayed up late, I wasn’t panicked, as I knew that I would just sleep later the next morning.
  • When I had an early morning appointment, I set my alarm, but actually found that I woke up naturally just before the alarm sounded.
  • I lost 4lbs!

We often believe change is difficult. It is, but we can make it easier if we keep it simple.

Here’s how:

  1. Set an intention that is powerful and know why it is important for you. All this happened because of one commitment: Sleep is my Number One Priority.
  2. Identify ONE ACTION that you can take on a daily basis to meet that intention. It may seem like a small, insignificant action, but as you can see from my example above, not setting my alarm and sleeping until I naturally awakened had many positive spinoffs. Make sure that the action is doable for you. I have a wonderful, understanding boss, who lets me do whatever I want to do (I have my own business) without having to clock in each morning at a certain time. Not everyone has this situation. So find an action that fits your life.
  3. If you mess, don’t stress. Tomorrow is another day. Just do the action the next day.

Sleep remains my Number One health priority. I can meditate, journal and exercise any time during the day. I don’t have to set my alarm for any of these. I just need to sleep when and for how long my body needs.

What habit are you committed to change? Identify your WHY and your small HOW and just do it!


4 Responses to “From Sleep Dis-Order to Sleep In-order – how to change a habit”
  1. Yes I agree. Sleep is key to an easier life.

  2. Nicky says:

    For me, it’s not that I don’t get enough sleep…..for me, sleep is about resting and rejuvenating…’s simply that I fear fatigue. To me, fatigue means dullness, inadequacy and lack of the life-giving energy that makes me thrive.

    I need between 8 and 9 hours of sleep during the week, plus time to catch up with any sleep deficit during the weekend.

    The promise of each new day is squarely at the feet of a good night’s sleep.

  3. Marguerite Orane says:

    Love that last line especially Nicky “The promise of each new day is squarely at the feet of a good night’s sleep.” I have been able to manage my energy so that I have a great day despite sleep. But it was really getting me down and worried about long term effects. I feel so much better now, as I continue to keep sleep as my #1 health priority!



  4. Marguerite Orane says:

    It sure is Michael.