“People say they are having a problem getting to sleep. The problem is not about getting to sleep. The problem is that people are hyper-aroused.” A sleep specialist, Dr. Rubin Naiman, in a recent interview at Sounds True explained what is causing sleep and dream deprivation, two contributors to depression. Tami Simon, an extraordinary interviewer, asked Dr. Naiman to elaborate.
We don’t know how to stop. We multi-task our way to bed.
Dr. Naiman explained that women, especially, have issues with sleep because they work harder than men. He acknowledged that most women have the responsibility for career and the lion’s share of home management. They have continuous demands for their attention and engagement.
Just a few days before, I heard Dr. Deepak Chopra state that women today are having less sex than our grandmothers did when they were our age. His news, given as a contributor to a program called “The Art of Love”, holds no mystery to women who have had no choice in employing the dastardly skills of multi-tasking.
Dr. Chopra said that our relationships require the Three As of love: Appreciation, Attention and Affection. Tell this to one of Dr. Naiman’s patients whose stretch marks already incorporate her body, heart and soul.
We’re hyper-aroused. We don’t know how to stop the insanity of our busyness.
Dr. Naiman worked with a group of car racers at one time. In conversation, he asked them which part of the race car they considered most important. He assumed they would say the motor. He was wrong.
“The brakes,” the drivers said.
“Yes,” they explained, “it’s critical to know we can slow down or stop. Otherwise, we lose confidence to drive fast.”
Straight from the mouths of people who manipulate time almost as effectively as a mother with a sick child. Knowing how to drive at top speed may win the race, but first, we need to know that our brakes will respond when we need them.
Tami asked how we find our brakes.
Adopt new rituals, he said.
We can think of ourselves as a sleek jet. We need a long runway. A jet hits the runway with braking procedures fully functioning.
Our runway starts long before we climb into bed. An hour before bed, we’ve landed. Here are some of our braking procedures:
- consciously begin to move more slowly. Catch yourself moving quickly and slow down.
- dim all the lights. Our bodies won’t produce Melatonin when lights are glaring.
- debrief from the day by journalling. Or talk with your partner. Explain the day as though it was a dream.
- soak in a soothing bath.
- refrain from mental to-do lists once in bed. Stop ‘tomorrow thoughts’.
- love the feeling of your bed and look forward to great dreams.
If sleep doesn’t come, he suggests getting out of bed. Go to a chair and read or write. When our head bobs, we can go back to bed. This affirms that bed is for sleeping – not eating, watching TV, or planning a corporate strategy for replacing the brake linings on all delivery vans.
In addition to giving yourself sleep, I have an idea. Give someone the Universal Three As of Love – Appreciation, Attention and Affection. Watch and see what happens. I bet the braking techniques come a lot easier. The Universe has a such a way of producing incredible returns on our investments.
Need a little help finding your runway? Here’s some extra brake lining for your Lear Jet: