Dr. Helen Johnson
1 Sept 2016
As I write this I am really bloody sleep deprived – this is due to a combination of a London heat wave...
As I write this I am really bloody sleep deprived – this is due to a combination of a London heat wave and a very very annoying and as yet unresolved noise issue at my flat that has been pushing my bedtime later and later against my will. Ohhhhh. How do new parents do it?! I wish I were one of those people for whom sleep comes easy (seriously, some people amaze me) but I am not so I have to improvise – or cheat. I’ve found some good cheats in my time but I am nowhere near as knowledgeable as the founders of WeSleep who – as the gurus of sleep – are now launching workshops to give you a crash course in changing your life for the better. They know first hand the impact having sleep problems can have on your life and they are offering people insight, support and solutions.
This kind of guidance is really needed. In my own work recently I’ve been talking about the Greek Goddess Persephone – Queen of the Underworld – a feminine archetype that teaches us how to be spiritually well and emotionally savvy. And as I sit here with the kind of tiredness I haven’t experienced in years, I remember just how destructive sleep deprivation is to our emotional wellbeing. It’s hard to empower yourself, recover from hurt, or be proactive when your body is screaming out for rest. Nothing can drag us more easily into emotional distress, confusion, and even chaos, than not getting enough sleep. Who doesn’t look at a tired crying baby and know exactly how they feel?! I truly believe that even adults feel the same debilitating discomfort – we’ve just learned to hide it better.
The problem too with sleep is that once we have a problem with it then it can become a battle. We start to fear even trying to get to sleep and we can even stay up later, keeping ourselves wired, just to avoid the eventual let-down of lying in bed wide awake. This is where EFT (‘emotional freedom therapy’ or ‘tapping’) can come in especially handy – and it’s a tool that I have used in recent years with great results. It helps to bring my body into a more relaxed state, to let go of thoughts that are running through my mind, and to dissolve any negative beliefs I have about not being able to sleep.
EFT is a bit like acupuncture, except you do it on yourself without the needles (definitely wouldn’t recommend poking yourself with needles while sleep deprived…) and you can actually target the specific thoughts, feelings or beliefs that are bothering you. It works with mind and body to release negative energy and any blocks to being in your most calm, joyful state (including your most sleep inducing state!). So if you are lying awake at night with a head full of nonsense, you can use tapping to clear your mind. Or if your problem is that you just feel wired and hyped up, then you can use tapping to get yourself into a deeper state of relaxation. Trying it for just a few minutes while lying down can make a huge difference (my friend was a sceptic until she tried it and it transformed her sleep!).
If you want to learn more about how to use this technique to aid your sleep, come along to one of WeSleep’s workshops where I’ll be there to show you. Another tip (and I’m really not just saying this!) is to invest in a great mattress and pillow. Once you have got used to these, you will honestly experience anything else as a cruel torture instrument – I even take my special pillow on holiday with me! (I would take the mattress but there are weight limits on planes…).