MIND & SPIRIT

Top tips to improve your sleep

Getting a good night sleep is essential for our health and wellbeing. We encourage our patients to aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep and recognise that for some this can be challenging!

These are some of our helpful tips to allow for an easy transition to sleep:

1. Establish a consistent sleep routine. Aim to get up and go to bed at the same time each day, even on the weekends when possible. Don’t go to bed too early or late. Aim to be asleep between 9.30pm to 10.30pm depending on your waking time.

2. Avoid napping during the day to ensure you are tired enough to sleep through the night. We may recommend a nap if you have adrenal fatigue so please clarify with us if you are unsure.

3. Ensure you have plenty of time outdoors in natural light to encourage a natural circadian rhythm. This will help regulate cortisol and melatonin. In the mornings, open the curtains to allow natural light to enter the room. If you can, go for a short walk at sunrise and sun set.

4. Make your home and bedroom as dark as possible. Use low lit lights or candles after the sun goes down to encourage sleep.

5. Avoid looking at any screens at least two hours before bed. If you have to use a screen download Flux on your computer or purchase these reading glasses to reduce the blue light from your screen and minimise the disturbance to your sleep/wake cycle.

6. Make your bedroom as comfortable as possible. Monitor the temperature, keep it tidy and as quiet as possible. Keep your bedroom for sleeping only and avoid watching TV or using Facebook in bed.

7. Wear comfortable sleepwear – loose fitting, breathable and non-irritating.

8. Include at least 30 minutes of exercise during the day such as walking, swimming, yoga, or pilates. Avoid vigorous exercise close to sleep time.

9. Avoid eating two hours prior to bed and avoid too many fluids except for a relaxing tea, for example Chamomile.

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10. Foods rich in tryptophan can help with melatonin production (your bodies sleep hormone). Try having some of these foods with dinner; brown rice, turkey, chicken, red meat, fish, eggs, pumpkin seeds and oats.

11. Reduce or eliminate caffeine (coffee, tea, chocolate, soft drinks, energy drinks) and alcohol especially after lunch. Avoid using alcohol to help you sleep. As alcohol is broken down in your body, it causes you to sleep less deeply and to wake more frequently.

12. Don’t smoke within an hour or two of going to bed as it stimulates your nervous system.

13. Be ready for bed early. For example, after dinner have a shower, get changed for bed and brush your teeth, so when you feel tired or it is time for bed you don’t have anything left to do that might disturb you.

14. Avoid napping on the couch watching TV even if you are exhausted. Stopping this can be instrumental in giving you a better night sleep.

15. Establish a relaxation routine to prepare you for sleep. Start this at least 30 minutes before bed. Do something relaxing such as reading, have a bath, meditate or do some deep breathing to help you wind down and prepare for sleep.

16. Reduce stress. Write down your “to do” list so you don’t have to think about it at night. Incorporate relaxation techniques as above. Seek support. You can talk to us further about strategies and treatment options.

17. If sleep is still difficult, talk to us about some natural therapies that can help.

Om Namo Narayani,

Dr. Fiona

How any superwoman can create life balance

After my last blog post about me getting real with myself, I thought I’d dig a little deeper and share my personal top tips to help any superwoman create life balance. (And yes, this is definitely applicable to all you awesome supermen)

1. Get real with your expectations of self.

What pressures are you putting on yourself? Are they really necessary? Or can you cut yourself some slack.

After all, you’re only human.

I highly recommend doing a brain dump of all your expectations of self and try to fit it into a weekly calendar. If you find yourself coming up against the limitations of time, then get real with yourself.  It’s best to make a conscious decision of what needs to give, rather than letting something important slide or ending up burnt out.

Be careful that you don’t fall in the trap of giving up the essential (and I mean critically important) time for self, exercise or time with friends. Yes, work at times can be a priority but a life of all work and no play is a life of struggle.  I believe that when we get our life balance right, spending time having fun with your loved ones can make your time doing work so much more productive and engaging.

2. Set a benchmark for your achievements each day.

Rather than having huge to-do lists, and becoming overwhelmed with it (which usually results in procrastination or lack of balance as you throw every single minute into ticking it all off), set a benchmark of what you need to do each day to feel successful, happy or productive.

Yes, it’s tricky for us over-achieving types, but once you get the hang of it I promise it can seem almost miraculous. You let go of pressure, life flows easier and you start to cultivate a feeling of satisfaction and success.

Since I’m balancing a newborn and running a business, my benchmark is just one thing related to my work each day. One thing only. When I manage this, then I allow myself to sit in the satisfaction of a productive and successful day.

3. Learn to prioritise and learn when to let things go.

This supports the previous two tips. It’s critical to push through your beliefs around the need to get through your to-do list or else.

Or perhaps the need to prove to everyone just how capable you are?

If you don’t get your entire to-do list done, the world won’t stop turning and chances are your life will only benefit from it. You won’t lose value and your peeps will still continue to love you.

Give yourself permission to prioritise time for self or creativity over doing the dishes or cleaning the house (unless of course these tasks really light you up). If you are a writer, then prioritise time to create in the morning, rather than leaving it until you’ve cleaned up after the kids, gone shopping, paid those bills… you get the picture. After all what’s most important to you?

4. Don’t get so busy working in your life that you forget to work on your life.

Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of reading “The E-myth” by Michael Gerber, an extraordinary book for business owners or people considering becoming a business owner. He makes the wonderful point that too often we get engrossed in our lives with the doingness and day to day busyness that we forget who’s driving it.

Allocate time for you to contemplate, reflect, learn and grow.

Be the driver of your own life.

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5. Learn to delegate and do it the right way.

What is it that you absolutely need to be doing?  I bet that for most, it would translate to only 5% of what we are doing.

In his book “The Big Leap”, Gay Hendrix describes four zones of being. The incompetent, competent, excellent and genius zones. For tasks that fall in our incompetent (we have no skill in doing the task) and competent (we can do the task, but we don’t enjoy it and we don’t do a very good job) zones, it may be helpful to delegate these to someone else. Let them go, as they don’t fill your cup and well, truth is, someone else could probably do a better job.

And whilst it makes sense for us busy superwomen to delegate tasks like house-cleaning or car maintenance, be careful to not abdicate the more important tasks that fall in your incompetent or competent zone.

It’s definitely worth getting clear on what outcome you want (and how to get there in some cases) then to leave it up to Frank or Mary, who with the best intentions may only create even more problems for you. Yes, it’s easy to think that it’s too hard to understand or too far out of your comfort zone, but be careful of letting go of all control in that area of your life. You may just be giving your power away.

I’ve done this plenty of times myself including early on with marketing the first event of The Healing Forum, a day focused on sharing healing stories and healing wisdom. I hired a marketing student to “take on” the whole marketing side of things. I was so excited initially as I believed I was delegating tasks correctly. Something that I’ve really struggled with. But in this instance, rather than delegating I was abdicating my responsibility to this very important aspect. I gave very little direction and didn’t take the time to research what I wanted or felt was best for our brand. I actually convinced myself that handing this over to a complete stranger was a show of respect…. Well, it resulted in a nightmare and ended up taking a lot longer and a lot more month. The attitude of “you just deal with it” doesn’t always work out well in the end.

When delegating be clear what outcome you want, give direction about the process and be sure that you don’t give your power away to someone else.

6. Finally, recognise there is much to be gained by being. So stop doing, and start being.

I can’t say I’ve mastered this one, but I’ve certainly glimpsed the truth of this statement. Solutions, ideas, and some of my biggest ah-ha moments have happened when I’m away from my desk having a walk in nature or a cuddle with my boys.

The most productive countries in the world are also those that promote shorter work days. But better than this, they also happen to be some of the happiest countries. Rather than getting caught in a spiral of hard work and struggle, these statistics are showing us that containing our working hours and prioritizing activities that make us happy, will actually be of benefit to our work and career.

With that, I can now tick off my one thing to do today and can go finish a jigsaw puzzle my son got for his birthday (thanks Abi!)…

 

Kapow! Bam! Zap!

Om Namo Narayani,

Superwoman Dr Fi