Overcome the Fear of Falling Asleep | GR112

Sleep comes to us automatically – like the next breath, or the next heart-beat. The question is – what are we doing to welcome it? Three aspects that influence your sleep are your environment, your body and of course your mind.

In order to make sleeping a welcomed task we have to first start thinking about it differently. As in not being something you have to get to or do or a task that needs to be mastered but rather like the French writer Jules Verne says – see sleep as a friend!

Join me on this episode of Get Real today as I address the difficulties many of us face when it comes to sleep and what we can do to avoid chasing it but instead allow sleep to approach us.

Dr Friedemann’s Takeaways

Intro (00:00)

Imagine Sleep Being Your Friend (5:12)

The REM Sleep (11:13)

The Mind Struggles The Most (16:53)

Enjoy The Sweetness Of Life (20:37)

Meet Dr Friedemann

Learn more at: https://DrFriedemann.com

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LINKEDIN: https://www.linkedin.com/in/drfriedemannschaub/

Friedemann Schaub, MD, PhD, is the award-winning author of The Fear + Anxiety Solution. Dr. Schaub has helped thousands of people with his Personal Breakthrough and Empowerment program to overcome their fear and anxiety by addressing the deeper, subconscious root causes of these emotional challenges.

Are you looking for more from Dr Friedemann? Check out his “Your Accelerated Breakthrough Program” https://drfriedemann.com/breakthrough-program/.

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Transcript
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The Dalai Lama said, sleep is the best meditation.

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Well, for many of us, in fact, 40 million Americans have us

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that form of meditation is really hard to master. Do you

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also have problems sleeping, you may know this phenomenon, so you

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are ready to turn in the days then. But just the thought about

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going to bed already makes you anxious and nervous. Because

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there's too many times when you were just laying awake, tossing

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and turning or trying to be still because you didn't want to

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wake up your loved one. And just struggling and fighting and not

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knowing what to do because you just couldn't fall asleep, or

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you wake up after a couple of hours. And then at one or two

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o'clock in the morning, you cannot fall asleep. And all

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you're thinking about is why why cannot sleep, what's wrong with

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me, tomorrow gonna be a horrible day, I will never be able to

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perform or do what I need to do. Because I don't get enough rest,

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I feel more and more miserable. This is not a way of living, you

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know, that mind spiral that you probably have been dealing with

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if you have been struggling with sleeping for a long time. And at

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some point, you don't want to actually go to bed because it's

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almost like you have developed a phobia to your bedroom, or to

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sleep itself because it's just the excruciating, painful

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experience every night, sleep becomes your nemesis. And your

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bedroom becomes a torture chamber and you just don't want

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to go there anymore. But you also don't know what to do. And

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I completely get it because I had sleep issues, especially

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when I was in my early teens when I went to high school and

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really got in trouble for bad grades and a lot of pressure was

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put on me to improve my you know, scholastic performance, I

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could not sleep in front of a tab before a test I was again

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tossing and turning and turning just so scared of if I don't get

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enough sleep, I will not be able to answer the questions in the

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test and they will have another bad grade and I will get another

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another rundown from my mom. And the only thing that helped was

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my cat, a big 30 pound cat called lumpy because it was

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really lumpy. That cat could sleep anywhere I could have

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placed it on Time Square and it would have just fallen asleep.

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So I took the cat put it at the end of my bed. And I just felt

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so much more comfort by hearing it snoring and breathing and

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just being completely still. Somehow I was able to find that

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as my gateway to sleep and lumpy didn't mind apparently. Well not

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everybody has a lumpy and actually not everyone likes

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cats. So what do you do and that's what I want to help you

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with today I want to help you to change your mind around sleep so

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that you're not so afraid of it anymore. And that sleep becomes

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more something that you feel empowered with than a topic

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where you feel hopeless or helpless about and for that I

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want you to focus on three different aspects that I find a

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really crucial for sleeping. One is the environment and the

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habits we have when it comes to sleeping. The other is the

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physical body. And the third of course, the the mental emotional

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part of us. What can we do on all three levels to really

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improve our sleeping? Let's think about sleep differently.

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The I think a lot of people feel sleep is similar to anxiety,

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something you know really difficult to grasp. It either

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comes or not it's there or not. And you never really know. Now

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well you don't want to have anxiety attack you you would

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love for sleep to comment, but it feels very much random and an

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obscure.

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So what I want you to imagine is sleep being a friend, just like

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shoe Baron, the French writer said sleep is a friend.

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Sometimes you know the friend lead says waiting but sleep is a

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friend that comes every night and it's our job to create a an

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environment so spatially, but also physically in mentally and

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emotionally, so that sleep has an easy time to arrive. And

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feels welcome. Because after that you don't really feel like

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sleep is, is, you know, again, something that you have to

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either chase after or wrestle down. It's more like an

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invitation. And we can make that invitation every night. And

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every night, you can feel like, yeah, sleep is actually

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something that comes naturally. Because the fact is, sleep is

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natural, it is as natural as knowing that you're gonna have

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another breath, that once you exhale will be followed by an

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inhale, or it's as natural as your heart keeps on beating, and

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you don't have to control it, you don't have to focus on it,

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it just happens. And that's the same with sleep. So sleep will

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come, you just sometimes chase it away. I have chased it away

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plenty of times, because I put too much pressure on myself. And

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you may have chased it away in other ways, like, for example,

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with your environment. The other day, I asked a client to show me

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her bedroom, because she talked about she wants to create more

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order in her life. And when I asked her she really blushed and

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said oh, well, yes, but there's usually nobody coming into my

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bedroom. So it's it's kind of cluttered. Definitely a little

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understatement. But the problem is, there is somebody coming,

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and that is sleep. And of course you know you are coming into

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your bedroom. So see your bedroom as the reflection and

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how you want to feel when you go to bed. Look at your bedroom as

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a Zen temple, that is easy for you to relax, because everything

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that you have laying around all the clutter, all this you know,

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the books and the underwear, and whatever you find is something

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that your your mind gets stimulated by, it's a trigger,

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your mind sees those things, and somehow it doesn't feel relaxed,

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because there's really nothing to do. It feels like Oh, I

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should do the laundry. Oh, I maybe I want to read this book

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again. Oh, what is that I don't even know what that is, oh my

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god, I have like old food here laying around. You know, that is

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where your mind goes. And that's why the environment is so

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important to be relaxed and Zen. I find it also important when

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you think about the environment to have it of course in a

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bedroom, equipped with a nice bed, nice pillow is good

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mattress, have your windows hopefully, nicely shot and

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darkened so that there's not too much light coming in. Try to

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have either something that cancels out the noise. Or that

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you have a little sound machine or something you can put into

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your ears because quietness and darkness are just that natural

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gateway for sleep to come. And then also make sure that you are

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creating maybe a little ritual in your environment, I like to,

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you know, have a nice little lavender oil scent, either in a

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diffuser or in a spray, lavender relaxes you. And for me, it's

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always a reminder of the prevalence. And that's you know,

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where I feel home. And it's also good to have a little candle

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maybe lead before you go to sleep as a sign to know now it's

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this moment to unwind or you have a fountain and you're here

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this is water, just nicely calmly splashing, all of those

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things are reminders for yourself. Okay, I am now winding

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down and going to bed. So that's the environment. That's

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something that's very simple, right? I mean, you can easily do

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this. Now, how to prepare your body for sleep to visit you.

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First of all, if you cannot sleep chronically, it's always a

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good idea to go to your doctor. And check out if there are any

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underlying physical issues like a thyroid issue, or you have an

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allergy or maybe you have asthma or you have reflux. I mean,

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there's a ton of physical problems that can prevent you

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from sleeping anemia, for example, or maybe you're into

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menopause. Nothing really that cannot be resolved, but it's a

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good idea to check it out. Also really think about your body as

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something that naturally loves to sleep. I mean, you know there

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is just a desire for the body to rest it needs it just to you

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know the patient parasympathetic nervous system is necessary for

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healing for filling up our batteries for restoring energy.

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That's what happens when we are resting and sleeping. So the

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body naturally does it, but we are usually pushing against it.

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So if you feel like many of the French people here, it's a good

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idea to drink an espresso right before you go to bed and then

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wonder why you cannot sleep? Well, it's pretty obvious or

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during the day, and then when you're just feeling like you,

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you have to somehow get energy back with energy drinks, or any

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kind of stimulants. And at night, then you feel okay, I

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gonna wind down with some heavy alcohol or smoking some weed or

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anything else, it's not really helping your sleep rhythm, it's

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all kind of getting to 180 kilometers or miles an hour and

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then wanting to go to full stop. And it's very jarring for your

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body. And especially when it comes to drugs and alcohol, it

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prevents you from really getting into this deeper REM phase,

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which is the the dream phase. Actually, it's not the deepest

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phase of sleeping, but it's a very important phase of

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sleeping, rapid eye movement, sleep. Often, when we do take

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drugs, we just skip it.

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And then, you know, this is where our mind, especially our

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subconscious does all the dumping, and forgetting of the

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day, if you haven't been able to dump this out, then you're

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naturally feeling not very rested, you feel still as if you

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had worked all night long. And so it's not the same result as

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if you have a natural occurring sleep forcing, it doesn't really

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work that well. Dehydration is also something that your body

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often really responds with some kind of lack of sleep or lack of

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rest. So what you can do is drink enough water and not any

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other substances. And make sure that you are relaxing your body

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getting your body ready. an acupuncturist once told me when

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I was pretty stressed about, you know, my business and my book

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that I just finished at that time, he said, you know, the

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best thing you can do is just take a shower at night, you

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know, maybe at the end, you just turn the water and the warm

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water off and just have 10 seconds of cold water, which

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really works well. And imagine that as you take the shower, all

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the stress and all the gunk of the day is washed off, has

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worked like a charm, beautiful thing. What happens is when you

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have cold water, whether you know, not everyone likes to have

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a cold shower, but whether it's a cold shower, or you're just

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dripping cold water on your wrists. Cold water stimulates

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that Vegas nerve, which is the main nerve of the

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parasympathetic nervous system, this relaxation part of the

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autonomic nervous system. It's a counterpart to the sympathetic

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nervous system, which is all about fight and flight and

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stress. So to stimulate this, any cold water, the feet, the

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legs, the rest, even drinking a glass of cold water or having a

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cold shower. All that stimulates the parasympathetic nervous

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system and automatically gets your body more ready to rest.

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Another way to stimulate stimulate this parasympathetic

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nervous system is by tapping above the upper lips, or gently

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pulling on your ears. You know, just like for five, six seconds,

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the beautiful feeling actually feels really nice and it does

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relax your nervous system this this part that really is

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necessary for us to go into that sleep state. humming works to

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stimulate the Vegas chanting on scientifically proven stimulates

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the vagus nerve, the parasympathetic nervous,

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parasympathetic nervous system, it's a tongue breaker and

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ultimate sizing your feet, which my wife is so good at, she can

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massage your feet and just you know, get totally blissed out.

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And that's how she really gets into that relaxed state. Another

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one is breathing. Of course, if you're breathing slow, Andrew

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Weil has developed this 478 breathing where you inhale for

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four seconds, hold for four seconds, exhale for four

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seconds, inhaling through the nose, exhaling through the mouth

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with a little sound. It also really works very well because

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it calms your entire system down. And lastly with a body

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what I think is also nice Is this progressive relaxation,

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where you're tensing up certain parts of your body, you know,

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you tense up your shoulders, and then you relax them, or you

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tense up your hands for five seconds. And then with the

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exhale, you relax them, all of those can be anchors for your

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mind. I mean, for your body and your mind, that this is now

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clearly the time for us to create the landing pad for

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sleep, to visit us. I don't want to promote any, you know,

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product here, but one thing I really love, and you might want

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to check it out, because I certainly benefit from it a lot.

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It's called the dodo, it's this little blue light that shines to

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the ceiling. And you can breathe with with a light as the light

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gets brighter in size, you know, for a period of six seconds, and

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then it gets dimmer for a period of six seconds. That also, for

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me, is Justin super nice anchor, it took me a couple of weeks.

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But now, you know, at the beginning, I was following the

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light for five, six minutes, now, it's a three, four breath,

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and I fall asleep. So in other words, we can make our mind

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ready

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to unwind, and to be that inner environment, this physical

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environment for sleep to come. And then of course, the mind,

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you know, that's the one that struggles the most, especially

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if you had trouble sleeping and, and just seeing sleep no longer

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as something that you know, is deprived or you're deprived from

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or is something you have to fight with. But really seeing it

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as a natural friend that comes to you can take the pressure

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off. A lot of people that are not able to sleep, including

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myself, the problem is not sleep, when asleep is in some

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ways, you know, a symptom, when we are not able to sleep there

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is a symptom of something we are doing, or something that happens

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during the day. And, you know, if you would eat a big

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cheeseburger, you probably you know, don't want to go to bed

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right away, because maybe you would feel some indigestion. And

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if you think about what we are doing with our mind, before we

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go to bed, it's sometimes similar, right? It's like, okay,

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I want to wind down so I just gonna watch another CSI or a

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walking dead or whatever it is, and stimulate my mind with

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tension or stressful situations. Of course, it's entertaining,

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definitely is a nice distraction from whatever happened during

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the day. But your mind who takes especially the subconscious,

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everything literally and in some ways, everything personally, for

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your mind, you have been just fighting zombies or resolving

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crimes or getting away getting away from from a murderer. It's

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not very relaxing environment. Same thing if you go and, and

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check on social media, because you're thinking, well, that's

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gonna definitely wind me down. Well, your mind is looking at

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other people's lives. And there's definitely a part of

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your mind that says, oh, their life is so much more

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interesting. They have so much more fun. It's so much more

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colorful. They are also much thinner than me what's wrong

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with me, you know, yourself, I know myself. So it's not

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necessarily what the mind needs to realize, Oh, I'm safe, I can

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relax, I can let go. Because for asleep to come, we have to have

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our mind in a set point of surrendering, letting go and not

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looking at anything complicated or anything that doesn't seem in

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our control or is too stimulating. So at least 60

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minutes before you go to bed, no screens, no screens, TV, phone,

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pad, whatever, no screens. Instead really be present. Be

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present with your cat, your dog, your children, your beloved,

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your pillow, whatever you want to do, you just got to be

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present and you are using this as a winding down. It's you

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know, mentally emotionally. Most of us are 70% of the day not in

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the present moment. Like we are swirling like little helicopters

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through our lives and and never really touched ground. So these

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60 minutes, get you back into your body, get you back into a

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place of centeredness and rootedness. And then you

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naturally feel more open to receive sleep because your mind

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So let's go. Now, there are, of course, also phenomenons like

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this one that I found super interesting. It's called sleep

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procrastination. And that's when we are not wanting to go to bed.

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11 o'clock midnight, we just feel like oh, we're just, you

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know, starting the day, I was working all day long. So I want

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to have a little fun, or I'm just a night owl, that's who I

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am. Well, it's not necessarily the case, what happens often is

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that we are so in task during the day, we are working

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so much for something or someone and don't have enough fun that a

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part of us is just says, What about joy? What about just

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letting loose, what about living a little. And to counter that,

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basically, or what this part is doing, basically, it's just

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keeping you awake at night, because it feels like this whole

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day was so long and so boring and so hard. So let's, you know,

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enjoy the sweetness of life a little bit. And if you want to,

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you know, work through this kind of sleep, procrastination, which

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can be quite an issue, especially when you get this way

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out of the natural sleep rhythm, because you overriding your

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desire to sleep and stay up longer than you need. And then

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the whole rhythm is screwed up. Try to have a little fun during

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the day, just realize, Oh, I got two tents, I got too serious, I

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was just not even realizing that I hadn't eaten in eight hours, I

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totally ignored anything that you know, was maybe more

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meaningful than the job I was doing. I didn't listen to you

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know, someone calling me and talking to me about what's

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what's going on in their lives. I didn't even you know, notice

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that it was already time to go home, I'm still here sitting at

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the desk. And whatever it is, just realize that kind of

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procrastination that also can lead to insomnia has basically

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the message for you that you have to find a little bit more

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balance in your life, and not be so on achiever and overdrive

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mode. And that's the same. When you are not able to sleep there

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is a there is usually a message behind it. And for me

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personally, it was about pressure, I put way too much

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pressure on myself, I really believed that I can only find

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love from my parents or get appreciation from them. If I get

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to be the best in class. And that pressure from not being the

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best in class by far was just overwhelming. And a lot of

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clients that I'm working with at half sleep issues, tell me that

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their thought is about that they cannot really be there for

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others, my family doesn't really benefit from me when I'm tired,

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my job performance will slack off. Or I'm just not you know

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good anymore for you know, my friends because I don't want to

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go out anymore because I'm just too tired. So they're thinking

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about this performance idea that life is a performance and they

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put a lot of pressure on themselves to perform. And if

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they cannot perform because of sleeping, the pressure only

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mounts because they're feeling they have to do it now and this

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